Getting credit card information used to be as simple as going through the dumpster at a strip center or mall, looking for carbons. With the obsolescence of carbon backed credit card statements, and the invention of the internet, it has become much easier to steal identities. Common methods to steal identities are:
    • Dumpster diving in trash bins for credit card statements, loan applications, and other documents containing names, addresses, account information, and social security numbers.
    • Stealing mail from unlocked mailboxes to get pre-approved credit offers, credit cards, utility bills, bank and credit card statements, investment reports, insurance statements, benefits documents, and tax information.
    • Criminals complete a “change of address” form to divert your mail to another location.
    • Impersonating a loan officer, employer, or landlord to get fraudulent access to credit files.
    • Insider access to names, addresses, birth dates, and social security numbers in personnel or customer files.
    • Accessing online sources of personal data, such as public records and fee-based information sites. Court records can contain a wealth of personal information.
    • Stolen laptops, notebooks and netbooks. As mobile devices get smaller, people travel with these items that contain a great deal of personal information.
    • “Phishing” occurs when scam artists steal personal information from you by sending email that claims to be from a legitimate company and says you have a problem with your account. Frequently, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a phony and real email from the alleged source.
    • Corporate and hospital databases are being hacked at all the time.
    • Hotel guests are most at risk as hackers continue to take credit card data…more than any other industry.
    • Banks and credit card companies are also frequently in the news for having lost piles of their customers’ personal information.
    • Employees of companies that maintain personal information on you such as banks, or vendors that keep your credit card information on hand.
As you can see the ways to find personal information are only limited by a thief’s imagination.
    • Identities thieves use stolen identities to accomplish the following purposes:
    • Credit card fraud. Frequently, an identity thief will open a new account in someone else’s name.
    • Cellular telephone service
    • Long distance
    • Utilities
    • Depository accounts. An identity thief may open an account in his employer’s name and then steal checks written to the employer and deposit them into that account.
    • Medical uses. ID thieves have been known to get medical services using someone else’s identity who might have insurance that the thief might not otherwise have.
If you think your rights have been violated, call Attorney Gary Nitzkin, toll free at (888) 293-2882. The call is free and the advice is priceless. You can also email him at [email protected].