MANILA, Philippines - Be careful what kind of information you give to a marketing guy on the phone or a someone at the mall. There are only three things a fraudster needs to steal your identity.
ANC On The Money's resident financial adviser Salve Duplito said these three pieces of information seem harmless enough, and are thoughtlessly shared on social media or with random people.
These are your complete name (including your middle name), your complete address and your birthday.
When someone would ask your full name because you won a prize over the phone, Duplito said just say "no."
"Sometimes, I see people filling out application forms for credit cards and other service industries at the mall. These forms ask for your full name, home address, mobile number and birth dates," she said.
You may not see the immediate dangers of providing that information, but you should be concerned because you don't know how your information is going to be handled.
"The company acquiring your information may be legitimate but those forms can be passed on. Ask yourself how many people will have access to my contact information before the forms are processed," Duplito said.
In the US, fraudsters need only one piece of information to commit identity theft -- the SSS number.
While this is not yet the case in the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is asking consumers to be more vigilant.
"As an absolute rule, you do not give personal information to anyone on the phone, even those in instances where you see stalls in the malls with application forms. I would advise the public to be a little more circumspect. Yes, these are being offered in these locations because they're strategic, but to release personal data and you are not sure how your personal data will be handled or shared to other entities. Is there anything critical in that data sheet? When in doubt, it would be better to walk away," BSP Assistant Governor Johnny Noe E. Ravalo said.
Duplito noted that it's easy for fraudsters to gain access to your money through low-tech social engineering.
"A simple phone call for an old-fashioned con... Fraudsters can use your name, birth date and address to acquire your deposit information. They can call a bank branch and pretend to be you because most banks only ask for birth dates and complete addresses to validate your identity," she said.
Even if they don't know all three information, Duplito said it is easy to Google someone's contact information including mobile phone numbers.
Another person may have the same name as you, but once fraudsters match your name with an address, they've got you pinned down.
"Be very careful about sending those 3 information online or posting them on Facebook. A fraudster may also use your contact information to add their email addresses and mobile numbers to access your savings, investments and credit card accounts," Duplito said.
Once that is done, Duplito said fraudsters can now change your password and access your account, transfer your money to their accounts and charge their purchases to your credit cards.
Another alarming trend, Duplito noted, is that fraudsters acquire valid contact information to apply for loans in their victims' names.
Once they get the proceeds from the loan, the fraudsters disappear and leaving the poor victim saddled with a loan he did not get.
"How you handle your personal information is something that you can control, so always be careful and never give those three information away," Duplito said.