How Thieves Get Information

Most people know what identity theft is, but don't understand how identity theft happens. How do theives end up with our personal information? What part do you play in helping theives obtain your information? Identity theft starts by mishandling of your personal information.

  • Just Plain Stealing - Thieves steal wallets and purses; mail, pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. . Make sure you are not leaving personal information in your car, or just laying around your house. There are many areas where you now have a locked mail box, but if you don't are you making sure to get your mail daily? If you have checks coming in the mail are you watching for them?
  • Changing Your Address - Thieves may complete a change of address form and have your billing statements sent to another address. Change of address forms are easy to complete. They are just as easy for thieves to fill out.
  • Dumpster Diving - Thieves go through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it. Did you make sure to shred any papers that may contain personal information?
  • Phishing - Thieves pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam email messages to get you to reveal your personal information. Financial institutions will never ask you for your SSN or online password through an email.
  • Pretexting - Thieves may call a company and pretend to be you to get personal information.
  • Insiders - Dishonest employees with access to one of the credit reporting agencies or a credit report vendor. They may try to find someone with a name similar to theirs, or just someone with good credit. They could even sell copies of your credit report.

These are just a few of the ways thieves can obtain your information. Being aware of how theives get your information, is one step that will help you prevent identity theft.

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