By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We often think of identity theft as a computer crime with scammers hacking into our accounts online. But in today’s 3 On Your Side consumer report, a look at how thieves are wiping out bank accounts using nothing more than a telephone.
When Christy Reisig couldn’t get cash out of the ATM, she called her bank to ask why.
“And they said, ‘you have to answer these three security questions.’ I failed all three security questions,” said Reisig.
The questions had been changed and her account taken over using a kind of phone hacking. A con artist posing as Reisig was able to answer a Chase operator’s questions about the school she went to, her license plate number even the bank she had a loan from.
That gave the scammers the ability to steal $2,800 by writing checks from her account.
Reisig doesn’t know how the con artist got her personal info. But security experts say criminals can buy it from hackers who’ve breached the databases of retailers, financial institutions, even local businesses and schools.
“It’s really a question of when, not if, that each of us is going to suffer a form, or multiple forms of identity theft,” said Identity Theft 911 founder, Adam Levin.
To protect yourself, Levin recommends always use long and strong passwords and pick security questions you haven’t shared on social media. The schools you went to or your mom’s maiden name could be right on Facebook.
In a statement, chase noted “Customers are not liable for fraudulent transactions that they report to us in a timely fashion.”
It took a couple of weeks, but Reisig did get her money back.
“This has been a full-time job,” said Reisig.
She’s also disabled telephone banking. However, her bank admits another crook with the right information could turn it back on.