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Prevent Identity Theft 

 
What is Identity Theft?
Why is Identity Theft Growing?
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Report Identity Theft
 

What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when criminals take possession of your personally identifiable information (PII), sometimes including credit card information, bank account information, and/or Social Security number, and use it for fraudulent purposes. Identity theft is usually facilitated by malware and social engineering tactics which attempt to fool you into trusting the communicant enough to give up information. Identity theft can also occur when you conduct transactions in the physical world and someone steals personal information such as name, address, phone number, and Social Security number. Criminals can also steal your wallet, raid your mailbox, or rummage through your trash to get your personal information.

 

Why is Identity Theft Growing?
Particularly in tough economic times, criminals get more desperate. In the case of identity theft, criminals often find it easy to steal laptops or removable media from cars, doctor’s offices, and other businesses where it may be likely personal information is stored. As noted in international headlines, criminals also use the Internet to target key servers that aggregate personal information for businesses so that they potentially hit the “jackpot,” stealing hundreds to thousands of credentials in one attack. They lift your personal information to do a number of things such as open a new credit card and other financial accounts to purchase (steal) products, file fraudulent tax claims, establish new health insurance, and other activities. In the two-tiered cybercriminal enterprise, some criminals simply act as the “gatherers” of the information, which they then sell online to other criminals who actually use your credentials for the aforementioned purposes. And now, there is an increase in child identity theft which targets children’s identities for use in fraud.

 

How to Prevent Identity Theft
Knowledge of the tricks and scams that thieves use to try to obtain your personal information can go a long way toward preventing identity theft. Be vigilant about sharing your personal details, and try to stay up to date on the latest scams and tactics used by criminals.

Below is a list of ways you can educate yourself:

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