Identity crimes impacted 38.3 million people in 2015 – that’s a new victim every second.1 These crimes encompass lost/stolen personally identifiable information (PII), fraud and identity theft.
- Lost/Stolen PII: the theft or misplacement of information that can be used to identify you as an individual.
- Fraud: the theft and misuse of a victim’s existing accounts, primarily financial accounts.
- Identity Theft: the stealing of an individual’s PII to create new accounts under the victim’s name.
How does it happen?
- Vishing is when a scam artist poses as a legitimate person or company over the phone with the intention of stealing money or personal information. Vishing is typically used to steal credit card numbers or other information used in identity theft schemes.
- SMSishing occurs when you receive an SMS text message that appears to be from a reputable source, such as your bank, asking for personal details. The message will often send you to a malicious website with the goal of stealing your personal or financial data.
- Keystroke Logging is software that discreetly tracks the computer keys typed on a keyboard. This software is typically used to obtain user names, passwords and PINs.
- Man-in-the-Browser is a type of Trojan horse (computer virus) that infects a web browser. It takes advantage of vulnerabilities in your browser to discretely modify web pages, transaction content or insert additional transactions.
- Dumpster Diving occurs when someone goes through your trash looking for bills, preapproved credit card applications or other mail that contains your personal information. Always shred sensitive material before you dispose of it.
- Phishing is when an online scammer poses as a legitimate person or company with the intention of stealing money or personal information. Phishing attempts often come via email or pop-up spam message online claiming to be a familiar entity, like your bank, and ask for your personal information. Do not click on, forward or reply to these fake requests.
- Skimming occurs when someone steals your payment card information through a special device that attaches to payment terminals. Look for signs that a payment terminal has been tampered with and use a chip-embedded payment card when possible.
- Change of Address (theft) occurs when an identity thief fills out a change of address form and diverts your mail to another address. They often do this to hide an identity theft event or to obtain personal information which they can exploit for personal gain.
- Lost or Stolen Wallet is a common first step in committing identity theft. Stealing your personal belongings, such as a purse and/or wallet, often exposes your payment cards, checks, driver's license and mail containing personal information. This information can be used to commit identity theft. Contact the police and your certified Resolution Specialist in the event your wallet is lost or stolen.
Additional steps can be taken to prevent this disruptive and costly crime.
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