Scams and Identity Theft

It’s rare when I use this column to voice my personal views. Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever done it.  But this one has been gnawing at me for a couple of weeks.  I’m talking about scams and identity theft. 

Old fashioned folks may think using cash only in their daily transactions may be less likely to get hacked. They’re the same people who like to write checks to pay their bills.  News Flash!!!!  Think about how many people see or handle that check to process it - starting with the person who opens the envelope.  The check has your name, address, bank, check number, account number and routing number!  WOW!  That’s like giving an identity thief a gift! 

Thieves are everywhere – they are ruthless, focused and clever. Why these people spend more time stealing from honest people is beyond me.  My suggestion to these creeps is GET A JOB!  Ok, I digress…..

So in the past two weeks, my husband’s identity was hacked and thieves were ordering all kinds of stuff while taking advantage of his high credit score, with the gall of having the items delivered to our home address! Then they wait for the delivery to arrive and take it from our doorstep.  Luckily, we have identity theft alerts and the thieves were disappointed, they weren’t caught, but our money was safe.   Next, two of our property management checking accounts were hacked and they were shut down only to inconvenience us to set up new accounts.  Those thieves duplicated checks and started cashing them.  Then we had our company wiring account hacked with the scammer printing out checks from an account that never had checks printed.  Some guy in California tried to buy a golf cart in Nevada.  Go figure.

Last week, my bank called me to say that they had to cancel my debit card due to their suspicion that my account had been hacked. Turns out, I’d been in Austin visiting my daughter and visited the Dillards there.  I’d rather wait for the new card then worry about my account being hacked.  Better safe than sorry. 

The latest scam that has me reeling is the super official looking invoice from the Florida Board of Realtors in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It has 2017 marked on it like it’s from the IRS.  You open it up and it says FINAL NOTICE in red up at the top, with three hokey questions about whether you the Realtor have violated some ambiguously weird questions and then they want you to check yes or no, provide documentation if yes and oh by the way, you had better send $225 to the address on East Hillsboro Boulevard, Unit #607 in Deerfield Beach or your license will be revoked.   They even have your Brokers license number printed on the form.  Considering they targeted every Realtor in Florida, how much money did they spend to create this scam????  Certainly it will repay the expense and then some from the many Realtors who didn’t read memos from their Board or their Broker and send in their $225.00. There is no Florida Board of Realtors in Deerfield Beach but it sure looks official.

We as a company auto debit you and we can auto credit you as well.   For security purposes we prefer not to write checks anymore, we want to auto deposit into your account so there is security for all of us.  The honor system no longer exists in our world and technology as much as we embrace it has allowed the bad guys to use it to their advantage.

 

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