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6 Ways to Have Your Identity Stolen

Jun 20, 2008
Do you know what's in your wallet? If you answered no, then you are at risk for having your identity stolen. In fact, if you are not aware of the ways your identity can be stolen, then you are not aware of the ways in which you can protect yourself from identity theft. If this is the case, then it is very likely that you will be one of the 10 million individuals who will have their identity stolen this year. With identity theft, what you don't know can hurt you. The best defense against becoming a victim of identity theft is by knowing the following ways in which your identity can be stolen.

One way your identity can be stolen is through a lost or stolen wallet. Once thieves have your personal information from a driver's license, social security card or other identifying information from your wallet, they can open credit card and utility accounts in your name. They can also charge large amounts of merchandise on your credit cards. Thieves may also use your identity when dealing with the government to obtain public services, get a driver's license or official ID card issued in your name, but with their picture, or even give out your personal information when arrested. Some thieves have even been known to use someone else's identity when applying for jobs in order to use their background to pass criminal screenings.

Another way your identity can be stolen is by becoming too comfortable with your day to day happenings and let your guard down concerning your paper trail, especially your financial paper trails. Believe it or not, identity theft crimes are more likely to be done by someone you know or who you feel comfortable with. For example, if you employ someone to clean your home, you need to be sure that your personal papers are kept in a secure location within your home. Also, be aware of sales clerks, waiters or cashiers who process your credit cards for you. Untrustworthy clerks can duplicate your credit card receipt or use a special device to capture your data. Be aware of who you perceive to be trustworthy before you allow them access to your home or credit cards.

Another way thieves can steal your identity is by scouring dumpsters or trash cans in order to get receipts from financial institutions or pre-approved credit card applications. Thieves use this information to open credit card accounts in your name. They have even been known to create counterfeit checks with your bank name and account information on them. It is extremely important to not only monitor your incoming papers but to monitor your outgoing papers and shred all financial documents before trashing them.

A fourth way thieves steal your identity is through telemarketing phishing scams. Callers may pretend to be an employee of a popular company, such as Wal-mart, and indicate that there was a problem with your payment. Most people fall for this type of scam hook, line and sinker. It is also important to be careful about what you tell others about yourself when on social websites or employment websites. Identity thieves are great at using any tidbits of personal information to take over someone's identity.

The fifth way thieves steal your identity is by watching your actions at ATM's. Thieves are literally looking over your shoulder and stealing your information. You should always be aware of your surroundings when using automated teller machines. Thieves look to see what numbers you type in when entering your pin. They then follow you, wait for a chance to get your ATM receipt, and then gain access to your bank account.

The final way to have your identity stolen is to, quite simply, fail to put protective measures in place to keep thieves from gaining access to your personal information. It doesn't matter whether you purchase identity theft protection services or put your own steps in place to protect your identity, the fact that you are not protected will leave you susceptible to having your identity stolen.

Knowing how your identity can be stolen enables you to know how to keep from being one of the 10 million individuals who will have their identity stolen this year. It is important to become aware of how thieves can access your personal information in order to put protective measures in place.
About the Author
Jed Jenson publishes identity theft reviews, such as LifeLock reviews. To see another lifelock review, keep reading.
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