In many respects a fraud alert scam is similar to a phishing attempt.
What happens is that you will be contacted by phone or email by a scammer posing as a representative of your bank, credit card company, etc.
They will tell you that your account had been put on hold or cancelled due to suspected identity theft or because it has been used in some sort of criminal activity.
The scammer counts on the recipient being so concerned or outraged that they will reply immediately and be fully cooperative.
The scammer will go on to explain that in order to rectify the situation he will need to take some personal details from you in order to confirm your identity.
At this point many victims just don’t think clearly as they are already contemplating what may happen to them if their identity really has been stolen.
In this frame of mind they quite happily tell this ‘financial representative’ all their personal details, including bank account numbers and security/PIN codes, believing this will aid in rectifying the situation.
Of course what they don’t realise is that they have just given the scammer everything he needs in order to effectively steal their identity; the one thing they were trying to prevent.
To prevent this, the advice would be to remain on your guard despite the seriousness of what they are saying.
If it is an email then remember that reputable banks and creditors will not ask you to open links in them.
If you are hearing this by phone then take the caller’s name extension number and say you will call them back, using the organisation’s main published contact number.