Your identity is valuable, and for that very reason, you should protect it. Your personal details are what thieves need to steal your identity. But how do they get it? They use clever ways to steal your information with you none the wiser.
Unlocked mailboxes are an invitation for identity thieves to steal your personal information. It’s so easy for them to take mail sent from your bank or credit card provider and use those details to open an account using your name. Aside from mailboxes, dumpster diving is another way that thieves can access your information after you’ve thrown it out. What’s the solution? Get a locked mailbox and shred all of your mail.
You may or may not have heard of phishing and vishing. Phishing is when thieves send emails from your ‘bank’ asking for your account details and telling you to click on a link. This will then lead you to a fake website where you enter your details. Once you do, the thief has your bank information. Vishing is quite similar to phishing, except thieves call you pretending to be your bank and ask for your personal information.
Thieves, not only want your money, but also your medical and health coverage too. By stealing your wallet or hacking into your hospital’s records, they can access your medical insurance details. They can also steal information by hacking into your database at work, pretending to be a business partner, or stealing disks or files.
Thieves use Spyware that installs itself onto your computer and records your personal information, such as passwords and social security numbers. They also install skimming devices on ATM machines. When you place your card in the machine to access your money, this skimming device records all of your bank account details.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace are perfect places for identity thieves to get your information quickly and easily. They simply access information and pretend to be someone they are not. When they have you convinced, they persuade you to give your personal information to them. Thieves can also use your birthdate and last name on a social networking site to access your personal details.
Ensure that you keep your personal information safe and always be aware. Remember that even children are at risk. Because they don’t usually have a bank account until they reach a certain age, you may not find out about the theft for many years. Seniors are also vulnerable as they have more wealth and are more trusting of others. Students are a good target too because of their frequent changes of address, new credit cards, and unforwarded mail.