The purpose behind stealing identity is to use the illicit information for personal gain. Because identity theft has become so well known to the general population, criminals must use their imagination to find and steal the needed information.
Stealing From Your Company
Stealing identity information from the workplace is the new, trendy way to obtain personal information. Most companies, both small and large, store employee information on computer databases located on site. The employee information in the databases includes everything needed to steal an identity: name, social security number, date of birth and street address. A thief tapping into a company database can download all the names and corresponding personal data. The thief can then maliciously use this information themselves or the lists can be sold for big money to other thieves for their personal use.
Software for Stealing Identity
This type of software, called crimeware, is used by a thief to infiltrate your computer and steal your personal information. This type of theft is especially popular as a means of obtaining passwords to access bank accounts, credit card accounts and personal database records. The latest crimeware can even redirect the victim to a fake website being controlled by the thief. Even if you type in a legitimate website address, this software redirects you to the counterfeit website. Thinking you are safe at a legitimate website, you willingly provide your personal information directly to the criminal. With this information, a thief can take over a current account by making purchases or cash withdrawals.
Credit Card Skimming
Stealing identity using credit card skimming is also on the rise. This type of identity theft is especially popular in restaurants. For instance, an employee takes your credit card away to run your tab. Using a mini scanner or camera, the employee captures the credit card information. It is up to the employer to screen their employees carefully to prevent this scam from beginning in the first place. To recognize and stop this type of identity theft, try to make sure you follow your credit card. It should only be swiped once and should be pretty quick.
Many of us are not very computer savvy. When our computer breaks down, we prefer to call in the experts. Many times, this involves taking our hard drive to a computer professional to correct the problem. Keep in mind, all of your personal information stored on that computer is now available to every employee at that computer repair store. Passwords, account numbers, and other personal information can all be removed from your computer and used to commit identity fraud.
Out With the Old
What do you think happens when you get rid of your old computer for a newer model? All the information on that old computer remains and is open for anyone to steal. Your credit card account numbers, bank account numbers, and any other important numbers are all there for the taking. Play it safe before turning in an old computer for re-sale or refurbishment and purchase computer software that is made to erase all personal information from your computer.
Stealing identity is becoming more difficult as the general public becomes more aware of this type of crime. However, criminals are learning new and unusual ways to obtain personal information, like using crimeware or credit card skimming.