If you think that no one would be interested in your personal information, think again. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft.
Recent statistics show that each year approximately 15 million US residents have their identities used fraudulently resulting in financial losses totalling upwards of $50 billion. Close to 100 million additional Americans have their personal information placed at risk of theft each year when records in databases are lost, stolen or accessed by unauthorized individuals. Identity theft may be the most frequent, costly and pervasive crime in the United States.
What thieves need to commit identity theft
- Name and address
- Social Security Number
- Credit card or bank account numbers
How they do it
- Stealing - wallets, purses, computers, mobile devices, checks or credit offers/statements sent in the mail
- Dumpster diving - to find discarded paper files, cds, floppy drives, etc
- Phishing/spam - fraudulent emails
- Social engineering - gaining your confidence in person, on the phone, online, postal mail, or through email to extract personal information
- Shoulder surfing - viewing your log on activities in public spaces
- Hacking - password guessing, tricking you to download malware, spyware or other software to access information on your computer