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Home » Identity-theft


Security Center
What Is Identity Theft?

Identity Theft is a broad term used to refer to the variety of means by which criminals attempt to defraud you and steal your identity, and subsequently your money. Your identity is encompassed by a combination of several pieces of personal identifying information such as your full name, Social Security number, and date of birth (to name a few). Thieves then use these pieces of information to illegally access your existing accounts, open new accounts, initiate transactions in your name, and sometimes even trick you into doing this for them!

You are at risk virtually every day as identity thieves are constantly creating new ways to steal your money. They are sneaky and tricky and often try to get you to do the work for them, looking for the easiest path. You're likely familiar with some of the means by which a thief can steal your personal identifying information, but there are also many ways you might not be familiar with. Understanding the different types of fraud should help you avoid becoming a victim. Education is your best defense.

There are many ways that you can protect yourself, but many people forget to do some things or overlook some of the protections necessary. Whatever gaps you leave in your protection are obviously your biggest risks, so be sure to review your protections and close those gaps.



How thieves try to get your personal identifying information and defraud you

Following are some typical ways that Identity Theft is committed. This list is by no means complete, as criminals are always developing new ways to defraud you, but it does encompass many of the most common means used.



Loss or Theft


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Phishing


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Check Scams


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Spyware and Computer Hacking


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Mail Theft


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"Dumpster Diving"


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Card Skimming


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"Shoulder Surfing" and Eavesdropping


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Tools to Prevent Identity Theft

The following is a list of some of the most common recommendations to better protect yourself from identity thieves for each of the categories of identity theft described above.



Loss or Theft


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Phishing


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Check Scams


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Spyware and Computer Hacking


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Mail Theft


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"Dumpster Diving"


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Card Skimming


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"Shoulder Surfing" and Eavesdropping


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I'm a victim. What do I do now?

People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years, and their hard-earned money, cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.

If you ever know or suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or any sort of fraud, there are several things you should do.



Steps to Take


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