Avoiding Low Tech Identity Theft Schemes
Identity theft happens when a thief uses your personal information like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are faced with the consequences of identity theft every year.
Here is a video to learn more about how to fight identity theft.
3 Low Tech Identity Theft Schemes
There are three common low tech identity theft schemes to watch out for: dumpster diving, mail theft and stolen belongings. These three methods are still very common and can cause a lot of financial damage. Here is a closer look at each one.
Identity thieves are not afraid of getting dirty if it means a big payday. They will actually dig through your garbage in search of sensitive documents, like bank and credit card statements or anything with personal information on it. Their goal is to get enough information to open new accounts in your name, essentially creating free money for themselves.
Of the low tech identity theft schemes, this one might have the easiest prevention method. Shred your sensitive documents before discarding them in the trash or recycling.
Mail theft is another identity theft method and requires very little of the thief. Basically any unsecured mailbox on the street could be susceptible to mail theft. Someone could walk by and grab an envelope containing private information or even a check.
There are several ways to protect yourself from mail theft and the potential for credit card debt.
- Put outgoing sensitive mail in a blue USPS mailbox
- Bring outgoing mail to the post office
- Use online bill payment services
- Use a PO Box or mailbox with a lock
It doesn’t get much worse than realizing your purse or wallet has been stolen. Beyond any sentimental or useful items you may have lost, the most damage can come from stolen driver’s licenses, credit cards, insurance cards or a check book. With these items, a thief could make purchases, empty accounts, or even open new accounts in your name.
There are several ways to protect yourself from theft.
- Keep your wallet/purse close to you
- Never leave it unattended
- Know what’s inside in case of theft
Knowing that these low tech identity theft schemes are out there is one step towards protecting yourself and your finances. If you have been the victim of identity theft, ACCC can help you learn more about your next steps.