Identity theft happens when someone used your personal identifying information such as your name, social security number, credit card number and other pertinent information that may give the perpetrator some benefits.
Identity theft is a serious crime, yet it's very rampant especially in the United States, based on statistics almost 9 million Americans are victims of identity thievery. This crime can take many forms and may result to varying degrees of damage from simple to catastrophic. Some may be robbed of money blindly through credit cards, bogus account under their names or subscribe to payables such as phone lines, etc., some may even loose their job or worst be arrested of a crime they didn't make.
Good thing there are prepaid legal services nowadays who can help you when you're a victim of ID theft. The concept of this prepaid legal service is to have an immediate prepaid lawyer to assist you in tight niche when someone has used your identity to commit misdeeds. Yes, these are legal services prepaid, so you won't have to worry about the legal fees in addition to your ID thievery problem.
There are many ways and means for an identity thief to obtain your personal ID. Some of the investigated ID theft cases have documentations on how thieves gain access to other people's private information. And also here's some useful preventive advice that you can put to mind whenever handling documents containing your personal identifications:
Dumpster diving is when ID thieves rummage through trash in search for billing statements or other documents that contain personal information. These people may pretend to be scavengers or street beggars looking for stale food or broken things that they can repair in the trash.
Preventive Advise: Shred first all billing statements and other documents or written materials containing personal information before dumping them to the trash bin.
Skimming is another ID theft scheme. This is stealing credit or debit card numbers through a device whenever you process transactions using your card. These devices are usually hidden or inconspicuous to regular card users.
Preventive Advise: Pay close attention when processing payments through your credit or debit card, look for suspicious devices installed nearby your payments processing area. Sometimes small cameras are installed in machines where we process transactions.
Phishing is based on word 'fishing' really, wherein you fool people in order to steal their important data. Most of the time ID theft who uses this scheme make use of social engineering promos through the internet. They pretend to be financial institutions in spam messages or pop-ups, and they will lure you to revealing your personal information.
Preventive Advise: Never ever reply to these spam messages that asks for personal information, do not give your credit card number through the internet and activate pop-up blocker to your computer.
Changing your address to divert your billing statements, this is usually done after ID thieves have obtained your personal information or have gained access to credits under your name. They change your address simply by completing a change of address form, that way you cannot monitor your bills until much later.
Preventive Advise: Regularly monitor your billing statements, make sure they come regularly, and inquire about your bills if you failed to receive notice for the period.
Old fashioned stealing is also a way to obtain your personal information, either stealing your wallet or bags, mails like bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers or checks or tax information. They may also steal from personnel records if Human Resource Department is lax in security or try to bride employees who have access to employee personal records.
Preventive Advise: Report to the proper authorities like the police and immediately notify your bank, credit institution, company where you work and all possible contacts about your loss, to prevent the theft from furthering your loss or incurring damage to others. Raise security concern if you feel that your HR department is not keeping your records securely.
Pretexting is using yet another false identity, usually invented identity which can fool people for a while, in order to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other agencies which stores personal information.
Preventive Advise: Arrange with your financial institution or telephone company regarding the people you can transact on your behalf. Try also to arrange passwords with the institutions in order to protect your personal information.