Scam of the day – September 1, 2015 – Fake ID scams

As many young people get ready to head off to college many of them are bringing with them fake IDs in order to enable students who are under the drinking age of 21 to purchase alcohol at bars and liquor stores.  It has been estimated that as many as 80% of college students have used fake IDs.  However, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this week warned, buying a fake ID is a risky enterprise that can lead to the purchaser becoming a victim of identity theft after providing sensitive information to the maker of the fake ID.  In addition, in many instances, the companies offering this product online are often based in foreign countries and merely take the money, generally a hundred dollars or more, of unwary victims and never send anything in return.  As for the cheated young consumers, they are left without recourse because they can’t go to the police complaining that the company selling them an illegal fake ID didn’t provide the product and even if they did go to the police, there is nothing that can be done to get the money back from the companies located overseas.  The most common form of fake ID sold on the internet is a phony driver’s license and some of them are actually well copied counterfeits, but they certainly are not worth the risk.

TIPS

Buying a fake ID online is just too risky a venture.  Providing personal information that is often requested for these fake IDs is just an invitation to becoming a victim of identity theft.  In addition, when buying illegal goods, you can’t be sure that you will ever get anything in return for the money or Bitcoins you pay before you ever receive anything.   Finally, using a fake ID is a crime and if you are caught, you are in serious trouble.  The bottom line is that young students would be smart to avoid buying fake IDs.

Scam of the day – August 17, 2012 – New York legislation

Generally, in the “Scam of the day” I warn you about the latest scams and identity theft schemes, however, I am happy to report that today’s “Scam of the day” is to inform you about a new bill just signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that will take effect four months from now that prohibits businesses and services from requiring people to disclose their Social Security numbers in order to business with the particular company.  There are some legitimate exceptions for bank and credit related purposes and other similar services, but generally this will prevent companies that have no legitimate need for your Social Security number from requiring that you give them your Social Security number or refuse to provide goods or services to you if you do not provide it.

TIPS

Unfortunately, most states and the federal government still permit companies to refuse to do business with you if you refuse to provide them with your Social Security number.  If you are dealing with a company that requests your Social Security number although they do not need it, you should suggest using another identifying number such as your Driver’s license number.  Some people have gone so far as to obtain Richard Nixon’s Social Security number by using the Death Master Index of the Social Security Administration that provides access to the Social Security numbers of anyone who has died.  The more places that have your Social Security number, the greater your risk of identity theft if their data security is breached so whenever possible limit the places that have it.