We’ve all had strangers call us at some point. We can usually tell pretty quickly that they are trying to scam us. But sometimes these scammers can be quite persuasive!
While it seems that in today’s world there are more tools than ever to protect us from identity theft, scammers are always finding new ways to take advantage of people. Here are three examples of recent phone call and online identity theft scams:
Aaron Laws – More than $500,000 stolen from identity theft victims
Online identity theft can be devastating and in some cases result in the theft of millions of dollars. Aaron Laws is a perfect example of this.
According to the United States Department of JusticeAaron Laws was sentenced to 3 years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from his victims through online identity theft. From 2017 until his prosecution in 2020, Laws purchased credit card information from the “dark web” and used it to make fraudulent purchases. He used a complicated scheme using various means to launder the stolen money. Buying expensive items with someone else’s credit card and then selling them for cash has long allowed Laws to avoid detection.
From burner phones to cryptocurrencies, Laws has gone to great lengths to cover his tracks and steal as much money as possible. But thanks to the hard work of law enforcement officials, he was eventually caught and brought to justice.
Even during his 2017 arrest, Laws was still trying to scam people by buying credit card information online. He was clearly a master at online identity theft – and he got away with it for years!
How can you avoid becoming a victim of online identity theft?
Always be careful where you submit your personal information online. Be especially careful when providing your social security number, date of birth, or financial information. And never click on links in emails from people you don’t know – they could be phishing attempts!
Hitesh Madhubhai Patel – A real IRS phone scammer
Hitesh Madhubhai Patel is a perfect example of a phone scammer. In 2018, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in an IRS phone scam.
Accordingly forbes, Patel was part of a massive IRS scam and ran a massive call center in Ahmedabad, India. From 2013 to 2016, he and his co-conspirators defrauded countless Americans out of tens of millions of dollars.
Patel’s scam was relatively simple: he and his associates called people across the United States pretending to be IRS officials. They would tell their victims that they owed taxes and had to pay them immediately, or they would be arrested. Many people have been taken in by this scam and believe they were speaking to a legitimate representative of the IRS.
They tracked VoIP calls from India spoof their caller ID and make it look like they’re calling from the IRS. They would even go so far as to threaten their victims with arrest if they didn’t pay!
They also used Americanized names and fake IRS ID numbers to legitimize their scam and make it appear more credible.
Patel and his co-conspirators made millions of dollars from their fraud. And while Patel has been brought to justice, it’s likely that many other scammers are still trying to steal people’s hard-earned cash.
How can you protect yourself from IRS phone scams?
The best way to protect yourself from IRS phone scams is to know what to look out for. Watch out for signs someone is trying to cheat on you, such as: B. aggressive or threatening behavior, unwanted calls and fake caller IDs. If you are unsure whether a call is legitimate, hang up and call the IRS directly to inquire about the alleged guilt.
Joel Ortiz – The SIM swap scammer
Joel Ortiz is a prime example of a SIM swapping scammer. In 2019, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a SIM swapping scheme.
SIM swapping is a type of identity theft that involves taking someone else’s cell phone number. This can be done by obtaining the victim’s SIM card through phishing tactics or by stealing their phone.
Once the scammer checks the victim’s phone number, they can reset the password for all of their online accounts – including email, bank accounts, and social media profiles. All of the victim’s confidential information is then in the scammer’s hands, including the calls and messages that are diverted to the scammer.
Accordingly Merkur News, Ortiz was particularly successful with this scam – he managed to steal over $7.5 million in cryptocurrency from his 40 victims and is believed to have attempted SIM swaps on many more people. With this scam, he managed to steal $5.2 million from a Cupertino-based cryptocurrency entrepreneur alone.
Once Ortiz checked his victim’s phone number, he used it to reset the password on his email, social media, and other online accounts. This would give him access to all of her personal information, including passwords, bank account information, and credit card numbers.
He would then use this information to empty their bank accounts, transfer funds from their cryptocurrency wallets, and make purchases on their behalf.
Ortiz was eventually caught when detectives began tracking the hacker’s SIM card activity, which was linked to his victims’ phone numbers. He was tried in 2019 and will spend the next ten years in prison.
Although Ortiz was the first person to be convicted of SIM swapping, it’s likely he won’t be the last. This is a growing form of identity theft, and more and more criminals are starting to steal money and sensitive information from people.
How can you protect yourself from SIM swap scams?
The best way to protect yourself from SIM swap scams is to be aware of the dangers. Be suspicious of unsolicited calls and emails and never give out your personal information or passwords unless you are 100% sure the call or email is legitimate.
It’s also a good idea to use two-factor authentication for all important accounts and make sure you have strong passwords that are difficult to guess.
No one is safe from scams, no matter how smart or savvy they may be. Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to steal people’s money and sensitive information, and it can be difficult to keep up with all the latest scams.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of the dangers and what to look out for. If you’re unsure about a call or email, don’t hesitate to hang up or delete it. And if you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, contact the authorities immediately.