How ID Theft Happens:
- Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
- Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
- Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
- Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a "change of address" form.
- "Old-Fashioned" Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
Some Basic Precautions
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card or write it on checks. Give it out only if necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your computer; and keep them up to date.
- If you make a purchase through an online business that contacted you without your request you can assume that your information has been compromised.
- Don't use obvious passwords that people who know even a little about you can guess, like your pet's name.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your home.
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