Everyone has heard of identity theft, but most people dont realize that ID theft is (mostly) plain, old-fashioned fraud with a spiffy new name that is scary.
Identity theft is still just theft. But how do these thieves get your identity in the first place?
The Post Office has published the most common ways ID thieves get your information.
Dumpster Diving: Rummaging through your trash. This is why you should shred every piece of mail or other papers that have you name, address, and any identifying information on them(phone numbers, account numbers, billing or credit card information, etc).
Skimming: Stealing your credit/debit card information by running it through a separate card reader while processing your card normally(at the ATM, or a restaurant where the server takes your card and comes back with it later).
Phishing: Fake emails that lure you into going to a scam or virus-laden website where you are convinced to give out your personal information.
Changing Your Address: Diverting your billing statements to another address by giving the Post Office a “change of address” form.
“Old-Fashioned” Stealing: Stealing wallets and purse; mail out of mailboxes; filling out pre-approved credit card offers; intercepting new checks or tax information. Thieves also steal records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
And lastly, Buying Customer Records From Credit Bureaus: Thieves will pretend to be legitimate businesses(who buy and sell your information daily as just another way to make money) and then buy your records from your bank or credit reporting agencies, even from government agencies.
Now that you know the most common ways thieves and fraudsters get your identity, you can better protect it.