How Does Identity Theft Happen?
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Identity thieves can steal wallets or purses or dig through mail
They can use ATM “skimmers” to get card numbers
They may use “phishing” emails designed to steal sensitive information
Identity thieves have gotten more sophisticated in their methods. The following includes some of the ways identity theft may occur:
- Steal wallets or purses in order to obtain identification, credit and bank cards;
- Dig through mail and trash in search of bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit card offers, tax information and other documents that may contain personal details;
- Fill out change-of-address forms to forward mail, which generally contains personal and financial information;
- Buy personal information from an inside, third-party source, such as a company employee who has access to applications for credit;
- Obtain personnel records from a victim’s place of employment;
- “Skim” information from an ATM — this is done through an electronic device, which is attached to the ATM, that can steal the information stored on a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip;
- Swipe personal information that has been shared on unsecured websites or public Wi‑Fi;
- Steal electronic records through a data breach;
- “Phish” for electronic information with phony emails, text messages and websites that are solely designed to steal sensitive information; or
- Pose as a home buyer during open houses in order to gain access to sensitive information casually stored in unlocked drawers.