How Do Criminals Commit Identity Theft?

You may consider yourself one of the most careful people when it comes to your information. However, that will not stop a thief from pilfering your personal information. There are a surprising number of ways in which thieves will get your identifying information. And once they have it? They can do some serious damage on your credit report and can even get you into some legal trouble. But just how do they get their hands on this important information?

The first, and most obvious place is your garbage. Thieves really will dumpster dive if they think it will yield some promising numbers. However, this also applies to old cell phones, flash drive, computers, and other information holding devices that have not been disposed of properly.

Another common method by which thieves can obtain your information is through simply stealing your credit cards, checkbooks, passports, et cetera, and even by rifling through your mail.

Public records are also another place that can be a feast for an identity thief. They can get information from official public registers that will get their foot in the door enough to get the rest of your information.

One of the more high tech methods of pilfering your information is to take advantage of credit card readers that may be old or faulty and created a clone credit card from the information.

A computer savvy thief can also infect your computer with viruses, spyware, or malware that will retrieve your information. This is one of the mail reasons as to why you should never store personal information on your computer without some serious firewalls and virus protection in place.

False job ads on websites like Craigslist and other classified ad websites are a surefire way for thieves to get your personal information from you directly, often with little to no fuss on your part. After all, you are assuming that they are a legitimate employer requesting your information for the purpose of hiring you.

Social networking sites can also be a place where you are at risk, depending upon what type of information you are allowing people to see. This does not necessarily mean that someone can steal your identity simply through your Facebook page, but it can give them a chance to see what companies you deal with, and then the thief will call you later and impersonate a representative seeking payment or to verify information about your account.

There are other methods as well, which vary from the low tech of brute force theft to obtaining your fingerprints in order to bypass some fingerprint scanners. The fact remains that the list is long already, and theives are constantly improving upon their techniques, so the list could keep growing.

In response to these techniques, be sure that you do all that you can to protect your information. Changing your passwords on a regular basis is a great idea, as is properly wiping the hard drives and memory of tech gadgets you need to dispose of. Keeping your information safe is important to your financial and personal stability.

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