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Identity Theft is one of the most difficult crimes to recover from, particularly if you find out about it belatedly. Identities are essentially stolen for financial gains or, in worst cases, to commit crimes in someone else’s name.

Identity thieves tend to cause lasting damage to a person’s name and reputation. To be safe from such a crime you initially need to know the most common ways that identity theft or fraud can happen to you.

Stealing Someone’s Mail

Criminals wishing to steal identities often steal a person’s mail straight from their mailboxes. Your mail may contain your credit card bills, your account information or your account statements.

All such information is then used by the thief to gain access to your account for fraud. Worst case scenario in this situation is that sometimes fraudsters manage to direct your mail to their desired address by requesting the post office for a change of address.

Credit Card Skimming

Sometimes hackers may install skimming devices in ATMs or credit card point of sales terminals. Such skimmers will read your card data from your credit or debit card enabling them to access your account in the future for financial gains.

To prevent this kind of fraud it is useful to check ATM machines and digital card readers for any unusual hardware attached to them. Moreover, regularly check your credit card statements and account statements for any kind of uncommon transactions.

Credit Card Theft

Card theft or credit card fraud involves physically stealing someone’s credit or debit card for financial gains. If the fraudster is purchasing online, s/he may not even need the actual card, just its number and its three-digit verification number.

Increasingly, to prevent this type of situations, retailers both online and physical have now implemented identity verification checks to authenticate the identities of their customers. ID verification services are provided by third part id verification software. Read more here about ID theft protection.

Dumpster Diving

Dumpster diving is commonly used by criminals to steal someone’s personal information by retrieving their discarded mail and/or personal documents. Everyone receives junk mail from their banks including bank statements and credit card statements.

It is therefore pertinent that you throw all your personal documents after shredding them properly or at the very least making your account numbers illegible. 

Social Engineering

Social engineering is another common type of fraud that involves impersonation. You may receive a call telling you that they are from your bank or an online store that you ordered something from. Such impersonators convince you to reveal your bank account or credit/debit card details. Also read tips to increase Instagram Followers.

They may even have some of the information to make you believe that they are actually from your bank, all they require is a pin or a password to gain access to your account. Banks and online stores never ask for such information. Most banks will constantly intimate their customers that they will never ask you for your passwords or PIN numbers over the phone.

Phishing

Phishing may very well be the most common means of stealing or compromising someone’s identity. It is done via electronic means including emails, direct messages or text messages. Scammers will often send a person malicious links in spam emails or text messages.

They can convince the person to use their website for an offer they might like or offer an incentive like a discount or gift voucher if they click on the link. Most people do not fall for such scams, but those who do can end up getting viruses on their computers, enabling the hacker to obtain all their personal details for financial gains.