How Thieves Steal an Identity

An identity theft crime starts with the misuse of someone’s personally identifying information. This type of information includes personal specs such as your social security number, name, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, investment accounty numbers, or other financial account information. These identity theft criminals see this sort of information like it is as good as gold.

These highly skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to obtain this personal information. These methods include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Dumpster Diving. These criminals will rummage through trash bags, cans, bins, and dumpsters, looking for bills or other paper with potential victim’s personal information on it.
  • Skimming. Credit card and debit card numbers are stolen when thieves use a special storage device when processing your card at authorized sales.
  • Phishing. Thieves will pretend to be financial institutions or companies through various means. They will send spam email or have pop-up messages to encourage victims to unwittingly reveal their personal information.
  • Changing Your Address. The criminals will divert victim’s billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form and submitting to the post office.
  • Old-Fashioned Stealing. Criminals will steal mail; bank and credit card statements; wallets and purses; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They also steal personnel records, sometimes by bribing employees who have access.
  • Pretexting. Criminals will also use false pretenses to obtain victim’s personal information from telephone companies, financial institutions, and other sources.