How does an identity theft criminal get your information?
The methods a criminal may use to obtain your personal identification are as varied as the victims themselves and while there is never a guarantee of not becoming a victim, there are certain steps one can take to greatly reduce the danger. While identity theft criminals have developed many ways of gaining access to your personal information and are continuing to come up with new ideas all of the time, the most widely used methods are still the easiest ones to block which can make prevention easier. Below is a list of the most widely-used methods an identity theft criminal will use to gain access to your personal information.
- Dumpster Diving: A criminal digs through trash, hoping to find discarded items such as credit card bills, bank account statements, and other mail which may include sensitive personal information.
- Skimming: The criminal sets up a special storage device that captures your credit card information when making a purchase.
- Phishing: This is a newer technique that became available with the advent of the Internet and e-mail. A criminal pretends to be a representative of a financial institution and will send e-mails stating that your account appears to have been compromised and lead you to a website where you can straighten things out. This is a scam and
you will be asked to verify certain personal information that the thief should not have.
- Pretexting: Once a criminal already has some of your information, they will contact your bank or creditors and using a bogus excuse will persuade the institution to supply additional information to them.
- Physical stealing: This is the oldest method around and is just as it sounds. A criminal will simply steal
somebody’s wallet or purse to see if any sensitive information can be obtained.