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Identity Theft:
Identity Theft Basics
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An identity thief is always on the prowl for unsuspecting victims. Simple transactions like writing a check, mailing tax returns, charging groceries seem harmless. However, it is these types of transactions that need to be safeguarded.


If you become a victim of identity theft, you are likely going to have to spend a lot of money, time and emotion cleaning up and fixing your good name and credit. In addition, being a victim of identity theft jeopardizes your eligibility for all types of loans and credit as well as opportunities for employment. You can even get arrested for crimes that you did not commit!

How does identity theft occur?
Regardless of how hard you try to keep track of your personal information, a talented identity theft will use a variety of means for gaining access to your information.

Below are some common examples of how identity thieves work:

  - They obtain data from businesses by:
    --- Stealing information from their place of employment.
    --- Bribing co-workers.
  - The number one method identity thieves use for obtaining information is by stealing mail. They can find credit card offers, bank statements, tax information, etc.. in your mail.
  - Going through garbage.
  - Getting a copy of your credit report by posing as a landlord, boss or someone else that has legal rights to access your credit file.
  - Steal your debit card numbers by using a device that is attached to ATM machines. These machines capture your your card information when you swipe it.
  - Steal your purse or wallet.
  - Going to post office and filling out a change of address form to divert your mail to new location.
  - Calling unsuspecting victims, posing as legitimate companies looking to resolve problems with your account. This can also occur in email form.


How do identity thieves use personal information?
  - They will call your credit card company and change the address associated with your account. As a result of not receiving your bills, you do not realize right away that your account is being charged up.
  - They will open new credit card account in your name and obviously not pay the bill.
  - They will activate a new cell phone in your name.
  - New bank accounts will be open in your name. Bad checks can now be written.
  - They can initiate transfers out of your bank account, depleting your funds.
  - An new car auto loan can be taken out in your name.
  - They can get a drivers license with their picture, with your name.

You can learn how to protect yourself from identity thieves and what you can do if you are already a victim of identity theft.


Tips On Preventing Identity Theft

The best means for protecting yourself from identity theft is to get a copy of your online credit report regularly.

There are several different credit report options. You can learn more about single credit reports, 3-in-1 credit reports and the credit monitoring program.

Get a copy of your credit report today!


Related Reading:
Protecting Your Social Security Number
When Can Your SSN be Demanded?
What is a Computer Virus?



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