Written by ID theft protection.
With the decrease in today’s economy, the rate of identity theft crimes is becoming higher and higher by the minute. Thousands of consumers fall victim to identity theft each year making it only more apparent that there are not enough resources out there providing education on identity theft. Though identity theft can occur in numerous ways, there are five common ways an identity thief can get a hold of your personal information and steal your identity.
Just realize that all an identity thief needs is a few basic pieces of your personal information to take over your entire identity, empty your bank accounts and even rack up charges on credit cards they apply for in your name. Some of the methods these thieves use to get even the most basic information from consumers are:
Trash Digging – One of the most common ways your personal information is stolen is through thieves digging through your trash. Think about it. What do you throw away in the general trash everyday? Pieces of personal mail, bank statements or even your medical bills? All of these types of papers have personal information that can assist an identity thief in stealing your identity. Paperwork does not have to have your social security number on it to be considered valuable. Papers with just your name, address or even a birthday are perfect enough.
Card Skimming – When you swipe your credit or ATM card at a local store or enter the numbers into an internet payment site, you probably do not think twice about it. Believe it or not, identity thieves will actually install special devices into retail stores, ATMs or even hack into online databases to skim your credit card information and use it to make purchases of their own.
Phishing Scams – There are a lot of cybercriminals that get away with phishing scams. They will send emails to consumers pretending that they are financial institutions that the consumer associates with. They will request you to click on a specialized link and visit their site. Even though the site appears to be legitimate, it is actually a fake site set up by these criminals. As you enter your log-in information it is logged into their computers so that they can go to the legitimate site, log-on and steal your information.
Change of Address Forms – Once an identity thief has enough of your personal information, they will submit change of address forms to send all of your bills and statements to their location. That way the consumer has no idea their identity has been stolen.
The Good Old Fashioned Way – The good old fashioned way of stealing your purse or wallet is still one of the best ways to steal your identity. Just think about what you keep in your wallet or purse on a daily basis. Things such as credit cards, driver’s licenses, and even medical insurance cards are more than enough for them to go to work.
There are a lot of ways an identity thief can steal your personal information. Though there are other uncommon methods used, these five methods are some of the most commonly reported methods to the Federal Trade Commission each year. As a consumer, protect yourself against identity theft by being aware of just how your identity is stolen to begin with.