ID Theft In 2013: The 4 Ways Thieves Are Becoming You

Identity theft is not a new concept, but it is an ever evolving crime. In today’s modern world, we’re more likely to share our information with others, sometimes without even realizing it. We share our personal data on apps, social networks, at the store, and more, and thieves are taking notice.



While the upcoming movie, Identity Theft, provides a lot of laughs, having your identity stolen in real life won’t exactly inspire the giggles. We took a look at four popular ways thieves are stealing your information and your identity in 2013 and how you can help yourself avoid them:

 

Phishing

Phishing is a term that many of us have heard, but one that not everyone understands. Phishing is when someone tries to steal you information from you through a seemingly safe or familiar site or program. Have you ever received a Twitter DM along the lines of this one: “Someone was saying mean things about you…” with a shortened link? Scams such as this one, and many similar ones on Facebook, are phishing scams to get your information. Email phishing is another popular way for people to get your information. The Better Business Bureau helps consumers learn to identify and avoid phishing emails with their simple guide.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Avoid personal passwords. When passwords have personal significance, they can be easier to guess, especially if you base it on something you share on a social profile, like your pet’s name.
  2. Let your friends know about suspicious activity. If you receive an odd message from a friend, give them a call or contact them through another service to check in and verify the message.
  3. Don’t click. Often you’ll find that phishing communications feature a link. Don’t click the link. Instead, contact your bank, friend, or other entity contacting you to verify the communication.

Nosy Neighbors in Line

That person standing too close to you at the store check-out might not just have personal space issues…they could be stealing your information. Thieves now peer over shoulders and more to get personal information, like your PIN number, while at the store.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Use cash or credit when possible. While cash keeps you from entering in any information, you may not be comfortable carrying it with you. If that’s the case, use your credit card instead of your debit card to avoid putting in any personal information in front of your line neighbors.
  2. Request your personal space. Don’t be afraid to ask the person behind you to give you a little space. While you may feel a bit rude asking the question, 30 seconds of discomfort is easier to deal with than dealing with stolen information. Ask politely and in a friendly manner to help the situation be a little less awkward.
  3. Cover your digits. We’re not talking about gloves on your fingers, but instead about covering the digits on the PIN keypad. Turn the machine away from your neighbors or cover it with your hand as you enter your personal PIN.

Dumpster Diving

You may not think twice about throwing that credit card offer straight in the trash, but an identity thief may find it to be a golden opportunity. Thieves can fill out such offers that came to you with your information, then use the account for their own purposes. When you throw away personal documents as well, it’s a golden opportunity for a potential thief to dig through your trash, finding all of your personal information.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Invest in a shredder. Shredding your personal documents and mail can help prevent someone from stealing your information, or at least make it more of a painstaking process.
  2. Look into local disposal services. Some cities and towns offer monthly or weekly disposal options for personal documents, shredding or incinerating them for you.

 The Photocopying Phenoms

While this may sound like a horrible name for a sports team, photocopiers are a common bunch in today’s connected world. When handing over your information or card to a server at a restaurant or a clerk at a business, you put your personal information in their hands–They could take it straight to a photocopier or scanning app and steal your card information.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Pay in cash or credit. Again, these two methods of payment are safer than putting your debit card and bank account at risk.
  2. Keep an eye on your card. While at the counter, keep a close watch on your card. If your card never leaves your sight, it’s less likely to get swiped through a secondary machine or photocopied.

While these tips and tricks can help you protect yourself during your day to day, Identity Theft Protection is a layer of security that keeps on eye on your credit for you 24/7, just in case something does happen with your accounts. Protect Your Bubble will offer ID Theft Protection in March 2013–We’ll be bringing more information to you soon about how it can help you keep your identity secure.

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