HOW DOES A TOTAL STRANGER GET ACCESS TO YOUR MONEY?
Identity theft starts with the misuse of personal data such as name and
Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account
information. Today’s bandits may use a variety of methods to capture your
information (read = “your money”), including:
Dumpster Diving: rummaging through trash
for bills, bank records, credit applications or
other paperwork containing personal info;
“Shoulder Surfing”: snooping at the ATM
machine, phone booth or retail card processor
to get your PIN code;
Skimming: obtaining credit/debit card numbers by using special data
encoding & storage devices while processing your card transaction;
Pretexting: using false pretenses–like posing as a loan officer or customer
service rep–to obtain your personal data from financial institutions,
credit reporting agencies, telephone companies, and other sources;
Changing Your Address: diverting your billing statements, for example, to
another location by completing a change of address form;
Internet & Email Fraud: gaining access to personal and financial info
through your computer, by such intrusive means as spoofing, phishing,
spyware and spamming.
Cons & Scams: gaining access to your financial account
information or your actual cash via get-rich-quick
schemes, investment schemes, check writing and money
advancement schemes and other fraudulent offers
which usually “sound too good to be true” — and are.
Good Old-Fashioned Theft: from stealing your wallet to stealing your tax
or personnel records (or bribing someone who can provide access to such)
to stealing mail right out of your mailbox.
WHAT DO THIEVES DO WITH A STOLEN IDENTITY?
Once they have your personal data, identity thieves can use it in a wide
variety of ways – all of which involve misuse of your funds that you may
or may not ever recover. In addition, you often become the unsuspecting
victim of damaged credit or even a source of attention for legal authorities
investigating criminal activities.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR I