Types of Identity Theft
There are several different types of identity theft, and any one of them could happen to you.
Synthetic Identity Theft
This first term describes the most common type of identity theft. Criminals steal or make up a Social Security number and then build a total identity with name, address, phone numbers, date of birth etc. If these identifiers even come close to matching your personal information, a subfile may be attached to your credit records. Of course the debts accrued by the perpetrators go unpaid and ultimately damage your credit.
Mailbox Identity Theft
Home mailboxes are a gold mine for identity thieves. The raised red flag notifies them that there’s probably a check for an outgoing bill in the box, and all the criminal has to do to reach in and help himself. Incoming mail is also a rich vein of information for thieves. Think of all the pre-approved credit offers you get in the mail every month; everything the thief needs to perpetrate identity theft is right there. If he’s especially lucky, he might even hit your mailbox on the day one of your creditors sends you those convenient blank checks.
Phishing and Identity Theft
You’ve probably already seen an attempt at this type of identity theft in your e-mail’s inbox. The object here is to trick you into divulging personal information by responding to an email purportedly from a credit card company, your bank or ebay. Commonly the email is sent in the guise of a security maintenance check, asking you to verify your account number or other personal information. The trickiest thing about phishing emails is that the phishers can cut and paste graphics from the authentic company website making distinguishing real from fake nearly impossible. Tip offs are spelling errors, poor grammar, or a general salutation, e.g., “Dear Customer.”
Data Breaches and Identity Theft
In the last few years, hundreds of millions of Americans have been compromised when their personal or financial information was lost, stolen or mishandled while in the hands of private, corporate or governmental entities. Very often this is the result of employees losing laptops, or administrators inadvertently placing information on the internet. The largest data breach to date is the TMX incident in which the data on 94 million TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods or Bob’s Stores shoppers was hacked from their network. Though hacking seems to get the most media attention, it actually represents only a small number of data breaches. The largest governmental breach occurred when a data analyst for the US Department of Veterans Affairs took home a laptop containing the records of 26.5 million current and former military members. Unfortunately, his home was robbed and the burglar made off with the laptop.
Visit LifeLock.com and use the Life Lock discount code Defense for the lowest available price.