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What is identity Theft? How does it happen?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, address, Social Security number (SSN), bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.

Identity thieves may use a variety of low- and high-tech methods to gain access to your personally identifying information. For example:

  • They get information from businesses or institutions by Stealing records from their employer, bribing an employee who has access to the records, conning information out of employees, or hacking into the organization's computers.

  • They rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or dumps in a practice known as "dumpster diving."

  • They obtain credit reports by abusing their employer's authorized access to credit reports or by posing as a landlord, employer or someone else who may have a legitimate need for and a legal right to the information.

  • They steal credit and debit card account numbers as your card is processed by using a special information storage device in a practice known as "skimming."

  • They steal wallets and purses containing identification and credit and bank cards.

  • They steal mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, or tax information.

  • They complete a "change of address form" to divert mail to another location.

  • They steal personal information from your home.

  • They scam information from you by posing as a legitimate business person or government official.

Source: FTC

Category: Consumer Tips
Posted on February 22, 2004 at 01:36 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Lucille,

Call the fraud department of your bank, report the charges and have the account closed. Find out if the bank protects you from any losses. You also probably should contact your local police department and get a report filed.

Posted by: Tom, Editor of ScamSafe at Jun 14, 2004 4:43:26 PM

How do I go about reporting unauthorized charges on my bank account.

Posted by: Lucille Ashman at Jun 14, 2004 1:59:27 PM

How do I go about reporting unauthorized charges on my bank account.

Posted by: Lucille Ashman at Jun 14, 2004 1:57:59 PM

How do I go about reporting unauthorized charges on my bank account.

Posted by: Lucille Ashman at Jun 14, 2004 1:57:14 PM