Identity theft sounds like it’s mostly done online by hackers who try to scam your information off you, but some of the easiest techniques can be done without even logging in front of a computer.
Frank Abagnale is probably the best example of a successful identity thief. In the late sixties he created different personas to get jobs, free airplane trips, and draw money from various banks before being caught and sent to jail for six years. Since then he’s given his expertise to combatting the same crimes he was charged with, becoming one of the foremost document security experts out there. Here’s several tips from him on how to avoid getting your identity stolen:
- Shred, shred, shred. Dumpster diving can turn up documents with revealing personal information printed on them. Try to use a cross cut shredder to get Some of the documents you should shred are pre-printed checks and pre-approved credit card mailings. They may have your credit card or account numbers written on them, and it only takes a phone call to order and put that to your account.
- Check if you’re missing any mail, especially credit card records and bank statements. And while we’re on the topic of mail – go through your statements and make sure all of your purchases are accounted for.
- Don’t carry anything you don’t need. This applies to Social Security cards, extra credit cards, and any other papers. Leave them in a safe place at home. If you lose them or they get stolen they’ll be more than enough to take your identity.
- In the eventuality that your credit card or papers are stolen, know what government agencies and bank hotlines you can call to report it immediately. The smaller that window between the theft and the report, the shorter the time they can use your data.
[tags]identity theft, tips, Frank Abagnale[/tags]