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Ten Ways People Might Steal Your Identity

by on August 6, 2008

You are probably well aware of the fact that there is some risk that your identity might get stolen. The most common scenario is that someone gets their hands on your personal credit card information, bank account numbers and/or personal identification (such as your social security number) and uses this to cause you financial harm. But have you ever wondered how exactly they get that information?

Here is a look at ten common ways that someone might steal your identity:

1. Going through the papers in your trash. Believe it or not the most common method of how identity theft happens is from thieves going through your garbage and getting your financial statements out of it. Buy a good paper shredder.

2. Accessing used electronics. Your computer stores a whole lot of information about you including your personal ID and financial information. Don’t give that stuff away or stick it in the trash without clearing out that information.

3. Theft of your credit cards. The easiest way to use a stolen identity is to take the credit card that you want to use. Pickpockets and cashiers who “forget” to return your credit card after a transaction are the most likely culprits here. 

4. Theft of your electronic information. Hacking in to your computer is another way that people can get the information that they need to be able to access your personal finances. Make sure that you set up the security software that you should have on your computer.

5. Listening to you give the information away. If you’re the kind of person who conducts financial transactions on your cell phone, you might want to pay attention to who is around to listen to your conversation.

6. Asking for your information. Otherwise known as phishing, this occurs when someone sends you an email or text message asking for your personal credit information and you think it’s a legitimate request so you go ahead and respond.

7. Tricking you with a job offer. Occasionally identity thieves will run a scam that involves advertising a job that asks for your personal information on your resume. You send in the resume and they have enough information to start stealing your identity.

8. Remotely reading your RFID chips. There are some credit cards and passports that have RFID chips containing your information. Advanced identity thieves may use electronics to steal that information from you when they are in close proximity.

9. Checking you out through a public search. Your personal information shouldn’t be available through an Internet search or on government public records but sometimes it is and that can help identity thieves get you.

10. Altering your address in order to receive your financial statements. This is difficult to do but identity thieves have been known to do it in the past.

There are many ways that identity thieves might steal your personal and financial information in order to use your money or credit. You should be aware of the most common ways (like these) so that you can defend yourself from harm.

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