JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It can happen to anyone. In an email to Action News, the communications supervisor with the Jacksonville Beach Fire and Police departments, J. Erin Citrullo, wrote that even she was a victim of identity theft.
She referred to it as “a very scary, intrusive, frustrating situation to deal with.”
We dug deeper and found local incidents like this are on the rise.
“We're seeing it constantly," said Philipp Graves.
Graves is the president of Antisyn Managed IT Services, a company that helps small businesses keep their systems secure. Recently, his job has gotten tougher because of criminals getting smarter.
'They're getting very creative. The idea is that the average computer user is getting smarter and smarter, so they're finding other ways to trick the person into giving them seemingly harmless information that they can then use against them,” said Graves.
According to Consumer Reports, there were 1.2 million cases of fraud and identity theft last year, up 19 percent from 2010. Some of the top scams this year came through email. Scammers would send an email notifying you of a package from UPS you weren’t expecting, airline reservations you never made, or simply a “click here for more information” when really all they want is your information.
"They do every trick in the book they can to make it look like it's safe. That way the person will feel comfortable with clicking it, or typing in their information,” said Graves.
His advice – always stay suspicious when surfing the Internet.
For more tips on how to protect yourself from the latest scams go to: www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/10/protect-yourself-from-the-latest-scams/index.htm#