Scams and Identity Theft
1 Direct Instruction
Have students read through the definitions of a scam and identity theft as a review of what we covered last class.
Read through the definitions of a scam and identity theft.
Scam: An attempt to trick someone, usually with the intention of stealing money or private information
Identity Theft: A type of crime in which our private information is stolen and used for criminal activity
2 Direct Instruction
Have students read through the information on Identity Theft.
Read through the information on Identity Theft
Two Types of Identity Theft
Existing account fraud - use existing accounts to purchase things. For example they use a person's credit card to make purchases
New account fraud - occurs when a thief uses your social security number (SSN) and other identifying information to open new accounts in your name. Victims are not likely to learn of new account fraud for some time, because the monthly account statements are mailed to an address used by the imposter.
Identity Theft leads to the following problems
Ruins your financial future by stopping you from being able to get loans, credit cards and to purchase items.
For example with a bad credit score you won’t be able to get a loan to pay for college or a loan to purchase a car
It takes a lot of time to clean up the mess and can be expensive
Has your identity been stolen?
Know the warning signs
- You are getting preapproved credit card offers in the mail (although that can sometimes happen if you open a savings account)
- You are getting calls from collection agencies
If you think your identity has been stolen, talk to your parents and encourage them to go to the following website for help identitytheft.gov
How to protect yourself
- Protect your social security number
- Do not give it out unless you have a trusted business relationship with the company and you have initiated the call.
- Do not say your social security number out loud
- Do not carry your social security number in your wallet
- Avoid clicking on links in your email especially from unknown sources
- Do not reply through email
- Go to the businesses website by typing it into the browser yourself and logging into your account
- Initiate phone calls yourself by calling the number you look up not the one given to you in the message they left
- If you are concerned about an account change the password
Identity thieves look for the following
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Where you were born
- Current and previous addresses
- Phone numbers
- Drivers license number
- Passport number
- Account numbers
- Companies where you hold accounts
- Social security number
How do identity thieves obtain your information?
- "Dumpster diving" in trash bins for intact credit card and loan applications and documents containing SSNs.
- Stealing wallets and purses.
- Stealing mail from unlocked mailboxes to obtain newly issued credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, investment reports, insurance statements, benefits documents, or tax information.
- Accessing your credit report fraudulently, for example, by posing as an employer, loan officer, or landlord.
- Obtaining names and SSNs from personnel or customer files in the workplace.
- "Shoulder surfing" at ATM machines in order to capture PIN numbers.
- "Skimming" your credit or debit card information at a point of sale terminal or ATM machine.
- Finding identifying information on Internet sources, via public records sites and fee-based data broker sites.
- Hacking into unsecured and unencrypted data files of financial institutions, retailers, and credit card transaction processing companies.
- Sending email messages that look like they are from your bank, asking you to visit a website that looks like the bank's in order to confirm account information. This is called "phishing."
- Dark Web where criminals post information stolen from data breaches. Example they get your email address off the dark web and then search Facebook for your email address and are able to learn your full name along with whatever other profile information is published including your photo and hometown. Facebook is changing this feature so you can’t search for someone by email or phone number anymore.
3 Direct Instruction
Have students read through the information on scams
Be very skeptical of requests for personal information including messages and posts from friends that seem out of character for them in case their accounts have been hacked and it’s not really them requesting information.
Phishing scams typically
- Ask you to verify your account
- Makes it seem urgent
- There are spelling errors in the message
- They alert you that your account is in trouble
- They want you to download an attachment or click on a link
- They are telling you about an offer that is too good to be true
Watch the following video on phishing
Watch the following video on ransomware
4 Direct Instruction
Have students watch the following videos about different types of scams.
5 Independent Practice
Students will apply what they learned by creating a comic that would tell others how to protect themselves from a scam.
Your task is to create a superhero message for others to inform them how to protect yourself from scams (might want to narrow this down to a certain type of scam)
Give your superhero a slogan that supports your message. (You can Google superhero slogans for more ideas)
Use Make Beliefs Comix to create your message.
When you are finished, email your comix to your teacher
As an extended learning opportunity, students can look at the FTC website on scams.
If you finish early, you should take a look at this website and browse through even more scams.