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“Phishing” is when identity thieves try to trick you into providing your personal information by pretending to be someone they’re not. A phishing scam involves sending spam or pop-up messages to lure credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information from Internet users.
It’s frightening to lose your wallet or discover that someone has used information about you for a fraudulent purpose. Don’t panic — help is available. You will need to remain calm, cool, and collected as you go through the process of resolving the problem.
How would you feel if you were stopped for a traffic violation and suddenly found yourself being handcuffed and taken to jail for a crime you never committed? Or if you got a nasty call from a collection agency for a car loan you never had? Or if your application for a home mortgage was turned down because of information in your credit report about overdue bills on accounts you never opened? These are situations you could face as a victim of identity theft. While ID theft can take many complex forms, the essence of this crime is simple—someone steals personal information about you to use for fraudulent purposes.