The CPF is one of the main targets of criminals when preparing various types of scams. Combined with other personal data, the document allows gangs to contract services and even borrow on behalf of the victim. According to Serasa Experian, there is a CPF fraud attempt every 16.9 seconds in Brazil. Recent proof of the problem was the offer of a database of 92 million Brazilians on the dark web, most of them containing the Individual Taxpayer Number. Little is known about the source of this specific leak, but there are some steps anyone can take to avoid being affected.
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See tips for not falling for CPF fraud Photo: Pond5
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Why is it important to keep your social security number safe?
Brazilians may have several different documents, which go from the ID number and Driver's License to the NIS, but the CPF is the main one. Only with this document and some basic data, such as name, address, and name of the mother, can criminals shop and hire various types of service on behalf of the victim: the most targeted is the telephony, which usually involves not only signing a plan like the purchase of installments in installments on the invoice.
Social security theft may also result in fraudulent financing, opening of accounts, obtaining credit cards and even granting loans on behalf of the victim. In July, the Federal Police launched an operation in Esprito Santo with search and seizure warrants at the headquarters and each of the owners of a financial company accused of borrowing from Caixa using senior taxpayers' numbers.
Criminals can use stolen social security number to shop in the name of the victim Photo: Pond5
1. Safely store and discard documents
Always carry your ID, driver's license and other documents containing your social security number in a safe place, and always keep them in mind when handing them over when you need to identify yourself. When discarding cards and correspondence, it is also important to discard everything before throwing it away so that you cannot easily retrieve it.
2. Report police in case of theft
If you have stolen documents, make a police report as soon as possible and report any belongings that were taken. Almost every state now offers a virtual newsletter service where the procedure can be done entirely online to streamline reporting to the authorities. This way you prevent crimes from being committed on your behalf and create support if your social security number is used to hire a service on your behalf.
Register incident report as soon as possible in case of document theft. Photo: Reproduction / Gabrielle Ferreira
3. Avoid informing the CPF on face purchases
Avoid speaking the CPF out loud when shopping at the pharmacy and other stores. Always prefer to enter the number on a keyboard by covering the keys with one hand to avoid being poked by a prowl. Another way to protect yourself is to opt for rebate programs that waive the CPF at the time of transaction by opting for a separate number, an app, or a physical card.
4. Be wary of contacts over phone, email or social networks.
Banks and other providers will never ask for your social security number by phone or email when contacting you. Therefore, never give the information when contacted. In general, service providers usually only confirm the number they already have in the register and therefore do not require the person to repeat the sequence. When requesting service on social networks, inform the CPF only in private and ensure that the official profile and has the verified stamp.
5. Be wary of online testing and consultation sites.
Online testing on social networks is always a problem for privacy, but even worse if you ask for personal data like the CPF. Never enter personal data in this type of quiz, funny though it may be. It is also important to redouble your attention with unfamiliar CPF consultation sites, as they are often just a way of collecting victim information to apply scams in the future. If you need to consult CPF on the Internet, always opt for official solutions, such as the IRS, or recognized, such as Serasa and Boa Vista.
Use only government taxpayers or recognized entities such as Serasa. Photo: Reproduo / Wallace Nascimento
6. Caution When Shopping Online
Fake online stores can also steal your social security number. When shopping for e-commerce, always opt for Procon blacklisted retailers who have a CNPJ and a good reputation on a site like Reclame Aqui. It is also important to check if the website address is correct, if it has HTTPS and if the secure connection avoids shared computers and public networks or uses a trusted VPN.
7. Don't fall for virulent scams on WhatsApp
Escape from WhatsApp currents involving some surprise prize or tempting promotion are usually criminals trying to steal financial data. Scams of this type are distributed in links that usually lead the user to an external site where they must enter credit card data, telephone, social security number and other information. Even if it's just a seemingly harmless register asking for your personal data, be wary: it could be a gang collecting victims for a scam that will be dealt with later.
Via Serasa (1 and 2) and Federal Police
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How to consult CPF in Serasa; free app works on mobile