How is My Identity Stolen?

Protect your identity

Identity theft and identity fraud happen. Both are considered crimes in which the victim’s personal data is wrongfully obtained and used, usually for financial gain. Although we never expect to be the victim, it is always good to know how to prevent that possibility.

Personal data that can be stolen include your social security number, your bank account or credit card number, and even your password and login information. If this personal data is intercepted by the wrong person, funds may be withdrawn from your account, and you may get into serious financial trouble. Not to mention, it can be costly to rebuild your reputation after fraud happens. 

Why should young adults care about protecting their identities? According to an article by forbes.com, kids, teens and young adults should be very cautious about protecting their identities. You might think that being young deters identity thieves, but it’s just the opposite. According to the article, “It turns out that ID thieves love kids because most have a clean credit record. And often teens won’t find out that their identity has been stolen until they apply for their first credit card or a college loan.” 

How can my personal data be stolen?

A lot of people fail to realize how easily your information can be intercepted. 

“Shoulder surfing” happens quite often in public areas. Passwords, codes, credit card numbers, and other information can be seen, or heard, and stolen this way.

“Dumpster diving” is another way that identity thieves obtain copies of checks, credit cards or bank statements, or other documents that have your name address or phone number. Always shred these types of documents before throwing them away!

“Pre-approved” credit cards in the mail are oftentimes discarded. But with the enclosed materials, criminals may attempt to activate the cards and use them under your identity. Always shred these offers if you do not plan to use the card, and don’t let your mail get intercepted.

Online, be sure to use different passwords for different accounts. Do not leave your information or passwords laying around. 

To find out 5 easy ways you can protect your identity, check out “Foiling Identity Theft” http://www.youngfreemaine.com/blog/infographic-foiling-identity-theft

Keep living young & free,

Mallory 

Resources: 

http://www.forbes.com

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html