Consumer Alert: Scammers using technology to reach your wallet
Last year, a record-breaking 15 million people fell victim to identity theft and fraud.
Scammers are constantly crafting new tricks to steal your personal information, and your money.
According to Consumer Reports, it can start with a seemingly innocent act, like sharing a cute video on Facebook.
"They can change those pages to have malicious – they can have malware on there," warned Mary Beth Quirk, online consumer editor for Consumer Reports. "They could be promoting a bogus business that they could try to use to take advantage of you."
Quirk said technology is evolving, and identity theft is evolving with it.
These days scammers are "smishing," or phishing via text message (SMS).
"So that's one way that people can get your information, if you reply, they know you're there," said Quirk. "If you click on a link they can try to sell you something or get your information in a bad way that way."
You know that new chip card that's supposed to protect you from fraud?
Consumer Reports says thieves have found a way to exploit that technology, too.
"There's a tiny, a thin card inserted in some ATM machines, where if you put your microchip enabled card in, it can still get enough information off that device," warned Quirk. "It can get enough information off your chip so that they can make purchases with your money."
Have you ever seen an offer for tech-support pop-up on your computer?
Quirk said that could be a crook trying to take over your device.
"Those kind of fraudsters are trying to install malware on your computer, they might be trying to hack into your files," explained Quirk.
Bottom line: be smart, and keep your guard up.
"Just being aware and not trusting everything that comes to you and just thinking before you click on things is a really good idea," said Quirk.
Of course, scammers are still using tried and true tactics.
Some are still calling taxpayers, pretending to be IRS agents and demanding payment, and identity thieves may still dig through trash to get personal information.