Identity Theft Fraudsters – How They Get And Use Your Personal Information
The way the identity theft fraudsters use your personal information, they could lead you to complete financial ruin. This is why you need to be very alert that your personal information is not misused by anyone. Your intentions are good, but stealing your personal information to impersonate you is not very difficult, as most people are quite careless about how they care for their personal data. No wonder, identity theft happens to be a crime with the fastest rate of growth!
Getting Your Personal Information
The fraudsters first need to lay their hands on your personal information before they can (mis) use it. Here are some of the ways they can go about it.
Although you may not realize it, your personal information is available everywhere for those who would like to obtain it. Clerks who work in the various government and private agencies have legitimate access to your personal data. Information can be obtained from these sources, either by bribing the employees, by connouncing the records off them, or by stealing the records.
Your mailbox is the most vulnerable place. If not emptied regularly and daily, it may contain bank statements or statements of your account from the credit card companies. These are a virtual gold mine for the identity theft fraudsters.
Your wallet may be taken off you. You may not think much of it, but your wallet contains a 'lode' of information for the criminal mind. If you are one of the many who carry all their credit cards in their wallets, stop immediately. Carry only the one you need for the transactions on that particular day.
Another way how your credit card information reaches the identity theft fraudsters is through 'skimming.' Skimming takes just a single swipe, as much time as a legitimate credit card swipe takes. It could happen anywhere, in a restaurant, at the shopping mall, even when buying your tickets at a theater. Be alert when you pass on your credit card for transaction, ensuring that only a single swipe of your card is made.
Fraudsters may arrange to have your legitimate mail from your banks and credit card companies delivered to a new address, simply by filling an address change form! If you stop receiving your regular statements from your bank and credit cards companies, contact them immediately.
Using Your Personal Information
The fraudsters have arranged to divert your legitimate bills to a different address. They can obtain new credit cards, and then run up huge bills on them. You will not be aware of this as you will not be receiving your bills. By the time you find out, you are neck deep in trouble.
Identity theft fraudsters can open new bank accounts in your name, and write bad checks; take loans in your name and buy a car, failing to pay the installments; obtain a driving license in your name, give your name during an accident, fail to attend the court hearings, and a warrant of arrest will be issued in your name!
Identity theft fraudsters may even file for bankruptcy – in your name!