No matter how stealthy cybercriminals become, there are steps you can take to protect your identity, both online and offline. One of the measures you can take is to stay abreast of the latest ways cybercriminals are targeting you. This way, you are never caught off guard.
In today’s post, we will look at some of the latest tricks identity thieves use to steal your details. Let’s get started.
Posing as census workers or other government officials
Some criminals go door-to-door pretending to be census workers. They will ask for your personal information such as your name, date of birth, address, and email address.
Others take advantage of your responsibilities as a citizen. For instance, a fraudster will call you, claiming that he is from the court and that you have failed to report for jury duty. To move forward, he will ask you to provide your personal information and social security number to verify your identity.
Sometimes, the fraudsters will make the matter seem more urgent by telling you that a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Setting up fake Wi-Fi networks
Cybercriminals roam around places that offer public Wi-Fi access like airports, cafes, hotels, and libraries. They will set up a separate Wi-Fi network with a name similar to the real one. If you mistakenly log on, the fraudster will use malware to access your computer, hack into your emails and bank accounts, and steal your identity.
Mining social media profiles
If you still don’t have privacy settings on your social media accounts, you are a prime target for identity theft.
Identity thieves will find social media profiles with a lot of public information and use it to send the account owners offers based on the information they post. For example, they might send you an offer related to a local retailer you recently mentioned in your post as your favorite, or to a restaurant you patronize regularly.
If they are lucky, they can trap you into providing your credit card number and other financial information, which they then use to commit identity fraud.
Advertising bogus discounts
Although this is an old trick, it still works.
A criminal calls you, pretending to be a worker in a local business. She offers you a discount for your next purchase, and if you fall for it, she will ask you to send in some payment and your personal information. By doing that, you provide criminals with all they need to steal your identity.
When the taxpaying period approaches, it’s essential to be on high alert. Identity thieves take advantage of this period to gather information about other people and use it to their advantage.
Most of the time, the fraudster will call to inform you that you can file your taxes over the phone or that your tax refund check is ready to be issued. They will then ask you to provide your personal information so they can verify your identity.
These are just a few of the methods identity thieves use to steal your identity. Most of these are relatively new, but that does not mean that criminals have given up on old methods. These are some of the “old school” methods to steal your identity:
- Dumpster diving: Sometimes criminals will search your garbage with the aim of finding documents with your personal information. This is why you should always shred your documents before disposing of them.
- Stealing your mail: Some criminals will steal mail directly from your mailbox or have your mail redirected to their address by filling out a change of address request form. Correspondence from financial institutions and other organizations can contain lots of personal data that is useful to an identity thief.
- Stealing your wallet: Your wallet usually contains your credit cards, bank deposit slips, debit cards, and even your driver’s license—naturally, it’s one of the favorite places for identity thieves to look for information.
Knowing what methods identity thieves are using to steal information is a crucial tool that can help you beat identity theft. Remember to stay alert and always verify any offers or information you receive via the internet or telephone calls before you act on them.