Unformatted text preview: Identity Theft By: Brandon A Denson What is identity theft? Congress defined identity theft as: Knowingly transferring or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law (US Department of Justice: 4). How identity theft happens? There are several methods for identity theft which can range from simple to complex. Identity thieves may only need a few pieces of information to obtain someone else's identity such as: Social Security Number Date of Birth Mother maiden name Address Ways of stealing identity. "Pretext Calling" People misrepresenting themselves as agents of a financial institution to get personal information that can either be sold or used by the identity thief. "Shoulder Surfing" Identity thieves can get your pin number by simply looking over your shoulder while you are at the ATM. Some identity thieves will use technology to obtain this information. "Dumpster Dive" Identity thieves dig through trash to try and find all types of personal information such as: credit cards, bank statements, medical records, and employment documents to try and find anything that contains personal information. Ways of identity theft cont. Technological advances have made identity theft faster and easier. It provides them with more effective ways of gathering information. "Data Mining" Using a computer to obtain personal files which may include: social security numbers, income tax files, and medical records. This is usually done by hacking. "Scanning Device" Lifts information from credit or debit cards. Ways to Prevent Identity Theft Never carry your social security card around. Always use a paper shredder when discarding personal information even ATM receipts. Always take any outgoing mail that has personal information in it to the post office to make sure it does not get intercepted or end up in the wrong hands. Close any old or unused credit card accounts. Try to get a credit report every year so you can see any changes that have been made. Never give social security numbers over the phone because the company that you are dealing with should already have it on file. Conclusion Anybody is at risk for identity theft. We all need to take extreme security measures when dealing with giving up personal information. Identity theft is not only a burden for the victim but also the economy. This is because banks are responsible for the loss created by stolen identities. ...
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- Spring '08