Identity theft — A criminal steals your information to access your bank accounts, government benefits -- just about any area of your life. All this can be done with basic information like your birth date and your name. Identity theft is the gateway to many other areas of financial fraud.

Credit and debt card fraud — When someone gets control of your credit or debit card numbers and begins to make fraudulent charges - or withdraw your money.

Phishing and Vishing — Two other ways criminals try to get your information.“Phishing” happens when criminals send emails and create websites that look like they’re from a legitimate company you might deal with (i.e., your bank or cable company). Vishing is a term used for "voice phishing" where criminals use the phone to trick consumers into revealing personal information. Look out for urgent requests to update or validate your information or requests for personal information.

The Romance Scam — Criminals target individuals through a social networking or online dating site and build a romantic relationship over time - sometimes many months. Once the victim’s trust is earned, he or she will begin to ask for money - often for an urgent family or medical emergency. Sometimes the criminal claims to live in a far away country and needs money to travel to meet the intended victim in person.

The Grandparent Scam — The grandparent scam involves a criminal calling you by phone and claiming to be your grandchild. He or she will then ask money to help them out in an emergency - a car accident or problem in a foreign country. They'll ask you to send money through a transfer service - urgently and with little time to think twice. They’ll probably tell you not to tell their parents.

Read more about other common types of fraud

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