Identity Theft Update - Preventing and Coping with Identity Theft

How Identity Theft Occurs

Skilled identity thieves use a variety of ways to gain access to your personal information. For example, they may get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing it while they’re on the job; bribing an employee who has access to these records; hacking these records; and conning information out of employees.

Fingerprint Other ways identity thieves may obtain your information include:

  • they may steal your wallet or purse.
  • they may steal your personal information through email or the phone by saying they’re from a legitimate company and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as “phishing” online, or “pretexting” by phone.
  • they may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as “skimming.” They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach a device to an ATM machine where they may enter or swipe your card.
  • they may get your credit reports by abusing the authorized access that was granted to their employer, or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to your report.
  • they may rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps in a practice known as “dumpster diving.”
  • they may steal personal information they find in your home.
  • they may steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, new checks, and tax information.
  • they may complete a “change of address form” to divert your mail to another location.

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may use it to commit a wide variety of fraud and/or theft including:

  • they may call your credit card issuer to change the billing address on your account. The imposter then runs up charges on your account. Because the bills are being sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there’s a problem.
  • they may open new credit card accounts in your name. When they use the credit cards and don’t pay the bills, the delinquent accounts are reported on your credit report.
  • they may establish phone or wireless service in your name.
  • they may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on the account.
  • they may counterfeit checks or credit or debit cards, or authorize electronic transfers in your name, and drain your bank account.
  • they may file for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they’ve incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction.
  • they may buy a car by taking out an auto loan in your name.
  • they may get identification such as a driver’s license issued with their picture, in your name.
  • they may get a job or file fraudulent tax returns in your name.
  • they may give your name to the police during an arrest. If they don’t show up for the court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.
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Disclaimer - This site is intended to help you and is for general informational purposes only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein. By visiting this site you agree to use any information contained herein at your own risk. If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft contact the affected financial institutions, the credit bureaus, and the authorities immediately. Privacy Policy