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In the 70’s, the band The Main Ingredient sang, “Everybody plays the fool sometime. There’s no exception to the rule.” There is a lot of truth to this statement. However, there are certain aspects of your life where you need to make sure you never play the fool. One of these is with your identity and your personal information. Criminals are always looking for new ways to obtain personal information and use it to their advantage. Don’t get fooled by identity theft scams by learning about some of the most common types.


Skimming is a scam where your credit card number is stolen during a transaction. Most commonly, a device (a skimmer) is attached to the portion of a card reader where you swipe the magnetic strip. The skimmer allows for your credit card information to be retrieved from the magnetic strip and stored. Criminals can then use this copy of your credit card to make fraudulent purchases.

Most credit and debit cards are now being outfitted with an embedded microchip which encrypts your credit card information during a transaction. We advise always using the chip instead of the magnetic strip, if possible.


When a scammer tampers with a website’s domain name system or host file, in order to reroute users to a fraudulent website, this is called pharming. Since the redirection comes from a trusted website, most users will believe that they are entering their personal or financial information on a secure and trusted website.

Before you enter any important information on any website, you should always ensure that the website is secure and trusted. In order to do this, look for a padlock in the address bar (where you enter a website’s URL). If the padlock is present, this website is secure.


Phishing is a broad term which covers any scam where you are tricked into providing personal information. Basically, any avenue where someone can contact you is a medium for phishing. Some of the most common are:

  • E-mail scams which pretend to be from a trusted website, a “family member” asking for money, a political campaign or even an institution such as the IRS or FBI. Never give personal information through e-mail, always call if information is required. Never click on links or attachments in e-mails unless you are extremely confident in the sender of the e-mail.
  • Threatening phone calls from “FBI agents” or debt collectors that you aren’t familiar with.
  • Website pop-ups.
  • Viruses such as ransomware.

The moral of the story is that you can never be too careful when it comes to your personal information. The personal, financial and possibly even legal toll it can have on you is enormous. Don’t get fooled by identity theft scams. Be smart, be safe.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data