Educating yourself on Identity Theft is essential to fraud protection, and it all starts with you! Being cognizant about the different forms of fraud will help you from falling pray to identity theft criminals.
Identy Theft 101
Identity theft (ID theft) takes place when one person adopts someone else’s personal information. This act is done with intent of committing fraud and could include, name, Social Security number, date of birth or other sensitive information. ID theft is a growing crime and continues to quickly trend throughout the United States. For more information on this and other statistics, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org.
In February 2013 (Javelin Strategy & Research) The 2013 Identity Fraud Report indicated that identity fraud incidents increased by over one million victims in 2012. These criminals made off with more than $21 billion, the highest since 2009. The study reported 12.6 million victims of ID fraud in the U.S. in the last year, equating to one victim every three seconds. Details can be found at www.identitytheftassistance.org.
There are many ways your identity can be stolen:
- Misplace of or theft of your purse, wallet or credit card
- Mailbox theft
- Obtaining information from credit or debit cards magnetic strips
- "Trash diving" through your garbage
- Spying over your shoulder when entering a password or PIN
- Listening-in/Eavesdropping when verbally reciting your information
- Trick phone calls – stranger asking for personal or financial information
- Computer hacking
How does ID Theft work?
The identity criminal secures vital pieces of personal information including, but not limited to your Social Security and or driver’s license numbers, home address, credit card number, etc. Using one, or combination, of the aforementioned methods they are able to open new bank accounts, apply for mortgages, apply for credit, etc. – all in YOUR name.