Identity theft fraud is very common nowadays. Once, when I was bank manager armed robberies of banks were fairly common, but today’s identity theft fraud has presented the unscrupulous with other ways to rob the banks of your money.
One easy way for a thief to get a hold of your information is by going through the trash that you put out for collection.
This method is often called dumpster diving.
This is why many people shred all of their important documents and anything with their private information on it.
When dumpster diving, thieves typically look for financial statements, receipts, or credit card bills. Thieves often try to steal pre-approved credit cards, either from your trash can or your mailbox.
Phishing emails are probably the most common way that identity theft occurs online. Emails that appear to be from your bank, your credit card company, or online retailers like eBay and Amazon.com ask for you to click a link and enter your information for a purpose that they have made up. Usually they claim that your account has been accessed and fraud is expected.
Often, thieves only need one or two pieces of information that will lead them to the rest of your private information and allow them to steal your identity.
Other cybercrimes often occur through keystroke logging, spyware and computer hacking.
Skimming is another form of identity theft fraud that can be done by restaurant servers and other business individuals that have to ask for your card for payments. Servers take your card to pay for your meal, but they also scan your card with a device that allows them to copy the magnetic scanning strip on the credit card and make a duplicate of your credit card which they can then use.
A method called shoulder surfing is also a very common way to steal a person’s private information. Thieves try to take a video of you punching your information in at a cash register or ATM. The most common way to do this is by using a cell phone, because a thief can pretend to be texting or checking email online while they point the video camera eye at you as you type in your information.
These are just a few of the methods can be used to gather personal information which can then be used for other types of identity theft fraud.
Credit card theft is certainly the most common. Somehow a thief gets either your physical credit card or your credit card information and then purchases as much as they can on your account. Usually thieves purchase expensive electronic equipment, which can easily be resold at a discount.
Social Security Number theft is when a thief files for their taxes under your name, so he or she does not have to pay.
A thief could also use your name when employed, so the employer would then file the thief’s taxes under your name.
Character theft is slightly broader than credit card theft and includes a number of things from committing crimes to taking out loans in your name.
Personal Experience from a Banking Perspective
The last position I held in the banking industry was a compliance/audit role which was responsible for coming up with action plans to address issues where a risk management process needed improving.
Today, banks are even more vigilant by constantly proactively trying to anticipate what the unscrupulous might do.
However, it is important that you take preventative steps to protect your identity and your assets.