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What is "pretexting"? How is it related to identity theft?

Pretexting is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses--it is illegal. Pretexters sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, steal your assets, or to investigate or sue you.

Pretexters use a variety of tactics to get your personal information. For example, a pretexter may call, claim he's from a survey firm, and ask you a few questions. When the pretexter has the information he wants, he uses it to call your financial institution. He pretends to be you or someone with authorized access to your account. He might claim that he's forgotten his checkbook and needs information about his account. In this way, the pretexter may be able to obtain personal information about you such as your SSN, bank and credit card account numbers, information in your credit report, and the existence and size of your savings and investment portfolios.

Keep in mind that some information about you may be a matter of public record, such as whether you own a home, pay your real estate taxes, or have ever filed for bankruptcy. It is not pretexting for another person to collect this kind of information.

By law, it's illegal for anyone to:

+ Use false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or documents to get customer information from a financial institution or directly from a customer of a financial institution.

+ Use forged, counterfeit, lost, or stolen documents to get customer information from a financial institution or directly from a customer of a financial institution.

+ Ask another person to get someone else's customer information using false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or using false, fictitious or fraudulent documents or forged, counterfeit, lost, or stolen documents.

Source: FTC

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on April 22, 2004 at 05:55 PM | Permalink

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Comments

a relative constantly trying to get my ssn from me and others. wants to use it to research my adoption im 50yrs old so is the adoption! she tries to trick to get it.like adding to life info policies she's gotta have it! she's lying as if she would put me on her policy at 50yrs old! calls around to see if any other family memeber has it. want to post my SSN & other intimate info on various adoption websites-maybe someone will recognize it and then call her up. what can i do? the harrassment. the threats to expose my SSN on the internet. im frightned for my husband also we dont need to be stolen from by others that will see my # if she goes ahead and ever finds my SSN and does it.

Posted by: Kay at Mar 29, 2011 5:46:15 AM