Criminal Identity Theft - Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Criminal identity theft is fast becoming the most common crime in the U.S. In fact, 9 million people each year are victimized by ID thieves. The damage done to a person’s credit standing after an identity thief has wreaked havoc upon it is incredible. It can take up to three years and $10,000 to recover from the harm one sneaky identity thief can cause. The following will address the impact identity theft has on a victim’s life, as well as providing tips to prevent it from happening to anyone else.


Delta, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/13/2012 -- When criminal ID theft happens to an individual, that person may not even know about it for almost a year afterwards. In that time, the thief may open new credit card accounts, take out personal loans, obtain a mortgage, or buy a car under the victim’s identity. The injury this activity causes to the person’s credit score is awful. A once-healthy score of 760 or more falls to a rock-bottom low 581 in no time at all because the thief gets all these things in the victim’s name and then defaults on the payments for them. Although not as frequently now as 10 years ago, the injured party may be held responsible for repaying a portion of these debts. Here is a look at some of the ways identity theft occurs.

It is amazingly simple for criminal identity theft to happen. The thief has several methods of obtaining personal information. One of the most popular is dumpster diving. An ID thief simply goes through dumpsters behind apartment complexes, searching for documents carrying Social Security numbers, dates of birth, or credit card numbers. An identity thief can start with those bits of data and gather more bits, such as bank account numbers, until he has enough to cause major damage to an innocent target’s credit rating. Another way an ID thief gets information is the old-fashioned grab-and-run technique. He comes up from behind a woman and grabs the strap of her purse and then runs away with it. When he is in a secure place, he goes through the purse and takes whatever useful information he can get, then discards the bag. Pick-pocketing men is also a favorite tactic for identity thieves.

To avoid criminal ID theft, there are some easy steps to take. Carry a purse across the body so it cannot be taken easily. Men, carry a wallet in a front pocket rather than the more common rear pocket. Keep a separate place to carry personal information such as a different pocket. Shred all financial documents that may have private data on them.

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