Understanding the methods Identity thieves use is the first step towards protecting yourself fully against it. Identity theft has become huge in recent years – and the ways thieves can gain access to your information are becoming more and more sophisticated. That being said, there are still some simple measures you take to help protect yourself against most of them.
While identity theft is becoming more sophisticated, many thieves still rely on simple methods to get the information they need. Actually, a large number of identity thefts start with a simple bag theft. You might think that you’ve only lost a bit of cash and that once you’ve cancelled your cards you’re OK – but you’ve also lost a ton of personal information in the process. Potentially your social security number along with any other pieces of information thieves could use to set up false bank accounts or take out loans in your name.
Another tried-and-tested identity theft method is mail theft. All some people need is a small amount of information like your name and address to completely re-route your mail to them. You should be able to spot if all your mail stops getting delivered, but it might be too late. It’s also harder to spot if only certain pieces of mail go missing – as you might not even notice. This is especially hard to protect against if you live in shared housing where your mail is delivered to a box almost anyone can access. Even if it has a key, there are ways of getting your mail.
Cold calling has also long been a tool for many identity thieves, as you’d be surprised how much personal information people give up over the phone. Don’t respond to any cold callers with any of your personal information. This could be used against you.
More and more identity thieves are now starting to work online. Social media has become a goldmine for identity theft as many people share far too much about their lives. It can be easy to gain someone’s address from their social media profiles with a bit of investigating, and things like family birthdays could be used to gain access to your passwords.
Password security is hugely important, but many people take their online security for granted. Try and vary your passwords from site to site, and don’t write them down.
While identity theft is on the rise, you should be aware of the methods many thieves use to help improve your security.
About the author
The author of this article has years of experience helping people stay protected online. That’s why he recommends identity theft protection.