How Do the Identity Stealers Work to Steal an Identity?

By: Randy Vezina

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For professional identity stealers, this information is as good as gold mine.
Professional and Skilled identity Stealers may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including:

1. Skimming: These professional steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card. Do you let the waiter/waitress walk away from your table with credit card in hand? How about the gas station attendant? These are just some of the ways identity thieves can skim your card(s)

2. Dumpster Driving: In this method the thieves search for various bills and pieces for paper on which one might have scribbled some personal information. This can happen at work from the little garbage can beside your desk. Do you put your garbage out at night or even in the morning? If so, identity thieves will steal the entire garbage bag and take it to a safe location where they can pick it apart.

3. Phishing/Malware: These ID stealers are hard at work thinking up creative ways to get malware software on your computer using appealing Web sites, desirable downloads, and compelling stories, these criminals try to lure consumers to links that will download malware, especially on computers that don't use adequate security software. Then, they use the malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. They also can pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

4. Changing Your Address: These criminals divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form. Where they can collect your personal information form those bills.

5. Old-Fashioned Stealing: It is the most common forms of identity theft where in the these stealers steal billing related mails and credit card statements from their victims. They also resort to stealing their wallets and purses to get credit card details and other such information. They may also resort to bribing and getting such vital details from people who have access to it.

6. Pre-texting: They move step ahead in their job, by using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources. Pretexing is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. Pretexers sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, to steal your assets, or to investigate or sue you. Pretexing is against the law. Pretexers use a variety of tactics to steal your personal information and commit identity theft. For example, a pretexter may call, claim he's from a research firm, and ask for your name, address, birth date, and social security number. When the pretexter has the information he wants, he uses it to call your financial institution. He pretends to be you or someone with authorized access to your account. He might claim he has forgotten his check book and needs information about his account. In this way, the pretexter may be able to obtain other personal information about you such as your bank and credit account numbers, information in your credit report, and the existence and size of your savings and investment portfolios. Keep in mind that some information about you may be a matter of public record, such as whether you own a home, pay your real estate taxes, or have ever filed for bankruptcy. It is not pretexing for an identity thief to collect this kind of information.

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