New tips to avoid identity theft

Published: Wednesday, May 15 2013 4:20 p.m. MDT

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Online con-artists are getting smarter, and their email identity theft scams are becoming more and more advanced.

To combat the rise in online insecurity, the Consumer Federation of America has released a new set of tips to help consumers avoid being tricked by criminals pretending to be from well-known companies in order to steal personal information. Such internet scams are commonly known as "phishing."

On their website, the CFA released a PDF with 10 basic steps to remain safe from email and phone scams, ranging from preemptive measures to proper procedures once a con has been recognized.

“If someone suddenly appeared at your door asking for your personal information, you’d be suspicious” the nonprofit group suggests on their website. “It should be no different when someone approaches you through your computer or by phone asking for that information.

In their online PDF, Slam the Door on Phishing Scams, the CFA urges all consumers to be protective of their identities, remaining skeptical when companies and organizations ask for personal information over the Internet or phone.

“If it’s a company that you have an account with … wouldn’t they already have that information? And if it’s not, what business is it of theirs?”

To accompany their recommendations, the CFA also released a short video summarizing the key elements of the PDF.

When dealing with online contacts, the CFA also recommends consumers do not fall victim to scare tactics, such as suggestions to act quickly because of limited stock.

If you have recently been a victim of phishing, be sure to contact your financial institution immediately and inform them of the situation.

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and an intern for the Moneywise page on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @johnorjj.

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