Amazon customer, Eric Springer was understandably concerned when he got an email from Amazon customer service thanking him for contacting them because Springer had not contacted Amazon customer service. Unfortunately, an identity thief posing as Springer contacted Amazon for an online chat and merely by providing Springer’s name, email address and verification through a street address of Springer that he had used with Amazon was able to convince the Amazon employee to provide Springer’s real home address and phone number. The identity thief did not even have to log in to Springer’s account in order to access the customer service representative thereby negating the protections provided by Springer’s password. The identity thief took the information provided by the customer service representative and was able to parlay it into more information which he then used to trick Springer’s bank into issuing the identity thief a new credit card in Springer’s name. This is not an isolated incident and it happens at more places than just Amazon. We all are potential victims of identity thieves who troll for personal information from wherever they can get it and then use that information to make us victims of identity theft.
The less information that you share anywhere, the safer you will be. This even means limiting the places, particularly social media, where you provide your phone number or home address. If you can use different addresses for different accounts, it is a good thing to do. Having multiple email accounts can also be a good idea. Making your shipping address and home address different can also make it a little more difficult for an identity thief. Finally, make sure that all of the places with which you have financial dealings, such as your bank, credit card company and even retailers, such as Amazon will notify you if unusual transactions occur or changes are made to your account in order to alert you as soon as possible when problems do occur.