Identity theft project 06 - 1-HOW THEY STEAL YOUR IDENTITY...

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1-HOW THEY STEAL YOUR IDENTITY ? Knowing how an Identity Thief can get your information is one step to prevention < > Here are some of the ways that have been used by identity thieves to get the information they need in order to do their dirty work. a) Stolen mail and trash- Dumpster diving b) "Dumpster Diving" has been around for quite awhile, too, but up until recently it was confined to detectives, private investigators, and occasionally industrial espionage (like trying to find out who your competitors clients are). Most Americans don't realize that once you throw something in your trash and put it out to the curb for pickup, you don't have any "expectation to privacy", even though there are sound legal arguments otherwise . c) There is a fairly simple fix for this, though. Keep a paper shredder or "burn bag" next your desk, and use it on mail that has your personal information, like bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills, or letters from bill collectors. Garbage is the least valuable thing you own, right? While this is true in most cases, your garbage could become a major expense if you do not watch out. With all of the bills that we pay and the credit card offers that we turn down, there is a paper trail of garbage that contains some of our most personal information. Your garbage could contain your credit card information, an old check that could be used to create forgeries, your name and address, and all sorts of other information that could be used to steal your identity and your money. So while it seems truly strange to imagine someone sifting through your garbage to take money from you, realize that there are some pretty desperate and terrible people out there who would do just about anything to get a few dollars. If someone were to go through your trash and find an unaccepted credit card offer they might only need to respond to the credit card company and activate the card. At this point they could use the card to purchase just about anything they wanted, and you would be responsible to pay for it. The same is true for old checks, which could be used to forge a new check with your bank account information. Realize that it doesn’t take much skill or effort to create fairly convincing forgeries.Someone with a standard printer and some computer software could print a check that looks almost exactly like a real one. The check could even be deposited without any notice on the part of a bank. In many cases it would take a couple of weeks before the bank realized that the check was a forgery, and at that point you could be in serious trouble because the forger would be long gone. Although banks and credit card companies can be forgiving in these situations, you never know how they will respond, and if there is a lot of money involved you will probably have to pay a portion of it. The best way to prevent this type of identity theft is to make sure that your garbage does not contain any information that could
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2012 for the course CIS CIS120 taught by Professor Zales during the Spring '12 term at Harrisburg Area Community College.

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Identity theft project 06 - 1-HOW THEY STEAL YOUR IDENTITY...

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