Lately, one of the biggest criminal trends is stealing a person’s identity. There’s a lot one can get away with by just having the right info. What’s worse is how easy it is to gather someone else’s info if they are not in the habit of protecting it. In this day and age is pays to be cautious about sharing information. It’s bad enough that someone would steal your name but, that by itself isn’t enough. Identity thieves need more to keep the ruse going.
How many times in your life have you tried to enter a place or purchase something that required you to verify how old you were? Age verification is very important in bars and clubs. It is also a commonly asked question in hospitals and pharmacies to verify a person is who they claim to be. Sometime ID will be required as well but, not always. Someone with a fake ID with your name and birthdate could buy controlled medicine from the store and that would be accredited to you. If they did that at multiple stores it might raise some eyebrows. Needless to say the police would be paying you a visit.
Your license number is very important and goes a long way in proving who you are. It’s often a big target for criminals. Some miscreants go so far as calling as a credit card company or insurance company and ask their victim to verify their identity by reading their license over the phone. Later victims find out their identity has been compromised when they receive bills and court dates in the mail. The perpetrators likely have used an ID with the stolen info to arrange payments for goods or given it to police as identification when pulled over for a traffic violation.
Social Security numbers are the big score to an identity thief. From the phone con artist to the lowly trash diver, Social Security numbers are a thief’s dream-come-true. They understand that applying for anything involving money or credit cards requires a Social Security number. Some thieves literally steal trash and tear through it looking for sensitive info, especially a bill, a healthcare policy, anything with a Social Security number on it. This is the number to protect at all costs. Anything with you social on it should be shredded before discarding. This number should never be given over the phone. It should be stored somewhere safe and not kept in a wallet that could be lost or stolen. Guard it like it were your financial well-being. Because it is.
There are a lot of malicious individuals out there looking for personal info to exploit for their own gain. They have creative and nefarious ways of obtaining this info. An individual who is aware and prepared is much more likely to foil such schemes. Regardless of a thief’s persistence, if one refuses to give out info over the phone and is careful to shred trash with sensitive personal info, then the thief involved walks away with nothing for his or her efforts.
If you suspect your identity’s already been stolen, then it’s best to contact credit card companies, police, and financial institutions. It’s very likely that they will also have information for how you can combat the problem and help minimize its effect on you and your credit. Don’t delay.