How Does Identity Theft Happen?
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- There are a number of ways identity thieves may obtain your personal information
- Fraudsters may dig through mail or trash in search of credit card or bank statements
- Unsecured web sites or public Wi-Fi may allow identity thieves to access your information electronically
Identity thieves have gotten more sophisticated in their methods. The following includes some of the ways identity theft may happen:
- Steal wallets or purses in order to obtain identification, credit and bank cards;
- Dig through mail and trash in search of bank and credit card statements, preapproved credit card offers, tax information and other documents that may contain personal details;
- Fill out change-of-address forms to forward mail, which generally contains personal and financial information;
- Buy personal information from an inside, third party source, such as a company employee who has access to applications for credit;
- Obtain personnel records from a victim’s place of employment;
- “Skim” information from an ATM — this is done through an electronic device, which is attached to the ATM, that can steal the information stored on a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip;
- Swipe personal information that has been shared on unsecured websites or public Wi-Fi;
- Steal electronic records through a data breach;
- “Phish” for electronic information with phony emails, text messages and websites that are solely designed to steal sensitive information;
- Pose as a home buyer during open houses in order to gain access to sensitive information casually stored in unlocked drawers.