There are some common methods thieves use to steal your personal information and your identity, and then use what they steal to commit a host of crimes.
Here’s what usually happens:
> Someone finds or steals your Driver’s License, Social Security card or Credit Card(s)
Then they can use that information to:
- Open a new utility account
- Start a new cell-phone account
- Open a new credit card account
> Someone steals or finds personal statements or documents
What do they do with that information?
- Any of the above
- Withdraw funds from your bank account
- Get loans using your information, with the bills going to you
- Get medical information or obtain medical services in your name
- Alter your medical records
- Open up a new bank account using your information and a fake name
> Someone actually impersonates you
- Traffic crimes and other more serious crimes are committed, with the criminal giving the cops your driver’s license for an ID
- The thief may use your identity to pull off a con
- The thief may use your driver’s license to make a new license with your information and their picture
For Business owners:
Someone could use your business name or information about your business to obtain credit, bill someone for products or services, or open up a new bank account.
What are the most common method’s used to get personal information and steal your identity?
This may surprise you, but here they are:
- Going through your trash
- Stealing your mail
- Breaking into your house or business
- The internet
Let’s go through these in more detail:
Going through your trash:
You would be surprised at how many homes and business are not taking the time to shred papers and documents with personal information.
You definitely should have and use a Paper Shredder, and not the cheap kind that you may see in many stores.
What you need is a Cross Cut Shredder.
If you have a business, I recommend the shredders and data destroyers on this page.
Stealing your mail:
To safeguard your privacy you shouldn’t give your street address to strangers, and you should use a P. O. Box as your mailing address.
The biggest reasons for this are vandalism, eavesdropping and identity theft.
Thousands of residential mailboxes in the US are burglarized, both at private homes and at apartment complexes.
Thieves have been known to pry open “cluster boxes” at apartment complexes, condos and housing developments, stealing large groups of people’s mail at one time.
An article in my local newspaper said that a woman had been stealing mail for about 4 months before the police caught and arrested her.
She was only able to be arrested because of some home surveillance video and a witness who saw her opening mailboxes.
The police found envelopes in her purse that didn’t belong to her. She said she stole the mail to get social security numbers, credit cards, and personal information.
The Post Office or the U.S. Postal Inspector Service won’t get involved in these thefts unless there are at least 50 victims of identity theft, or at least $50,000 in fraud.
Breaking into your house or business, and The Internet:
Stealing your trash and your mail are the most common methods for identity theft.
However, It goes without saying that you should also safeguard your home and business against break-ins, as well as taken precautions online, and these will be covered more in depth in other blog posts.