Tri Cities Washington Identity TheftKennewick, Richland, & Pasco Wa Identity Theft
Hey, you!  Yeah, I’m talking to you!  The guy sitting there in Starbucks checking his bank balance on his iPad.  Or the nice old lady waiting for her social security check to be delivered to her mailbox.  Or even the family who doesn’t shred their junk mail before tossing it out.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I’m going to steal your identity and then steal a lot of your money, and there are so many ways I can do it you’d be amazed.  In fact, me and my fellow identity theft friends steal about a gazillion dollars each year, and it’s getting easier – not harder – thanks to technology.  I’m feeling generous today so I’m going to share my secrets with you (and chances are you still won’t protect yourself.)  Game on! 
1. Simple theft.
I can steal your identity the old fashioned way by simply burglarizing your documents.  I see opportunities everywhere  - I can slip an arm through a car window when you leave it down on a hot day, check to see if your doors are unlocked, sneak into your house, or even grab your computer when you go to the bathroom at Starbucks.  Don’t get next to me on a crowded bus or street corner, because I’ll pickpocket your wallet without you feeling a thing! 
2. Employer information.
Your employer has so much of your data and is SO careless with it.  I can easily steal files, flash drives, and other records to get your social security number, address, work history, medical information, other valuable data.  I don’t have to break in to do this – I can hack into your employer’s electronic files or even bribe the disgruntled janitor to let me in.
3. Change of address.
One of my favorite tactics is to submit a change of address form with the post office.  I can do this easily and anonymously by filling out a simple card.  After that, all of your mail will be sent to MY new address, usually a P.O. Box under a false name so I won’t get busted if you call the police. 
4. Phishing.
For my technically savvy identity theft friends, phishing scams are popular.  They send you spam emails or set up pop up messages to appear as you browse the web, all asking for your personal information or logins and passwords. 
5. Social Media.
You may not realize it, but social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc. are goldmines for us identity thieves.  By taking bits and pieces of your personal information we can assemble a data profile that includes just about everything but your social security number.  You also aren’t aware that your photos tell so much about your life (car license plate numbers, address on your home, when you’re out of town and where, etc.)  When all else fails, you’d be shocked what public records reveal online!
6. Mail.
Back in the day, we’d just drive around nice neighborhoods after the postman made his rounds and grab your mail right out of your box.  Apartment building mailboxes were the best because we could jimmy them open late at night and get everyone’s mail!  These days, I have identity thief friends who even put out fake mailboxes!
7. Trash.
Dumpster diving for your discarded documents, mail, and financial records is messy but profitable!  By the way, thanks for only ripping up your credit card statement in half and thinking you shredded it! haha       
8. Call somebody.
You’d be amazed how much information I can get on you just be calling up your financial institutions, friends, employers, and credit agencies and pretend to be your landlord or employer verifying information.  People are almost always too lazy to ask for verificiation!
9. Over your shoulder.
You know how you enter your password in the ATM machine and don’t really cover it up because you’re not worried about the people in line behind you?  Yeah, I love that.  I can easily see your password and some times even video it on my cell phone to watch it later just to be sure.  Oh, and I do the same thing when you’re on your smart phone, iPad, or computer in public!
10. Phony call centers.
I can call people all day claiming to be their bank, credit card company, or credit reporting agency.  I tell them there’s been some strange activity on their account (am I lying?!) and ask them to confirm personal information like passwords or social security numbers so I could freeze their account.  Then I call their credit card company and have some fun! 
11. Cloned cards. 
Do you realize how easy it is for me to make my own credit card?  I can press a duplicate in minutes with special foils and laminators, burning your name and card number onto blank cards that I buy online. 
12. Order checks.
This is too easy!  Once I have some of your basic information, I call your bank or credit card company and request an order of new checks.  I can either divert the mail or just pluck them out of your box! Let’s spend some of your money!
13. Skimming.
No matter how smart you think your bank is, we’re smarter – always one step ahead.  We install plastic devices to regular ATM machines that allow us to register all of your bank information once you insert your card, called skimmers.  Sometimes we even put up a completely fake ATM machine for a few days before moving it to the next location before the heat is on.
14. Public Wi-Fi connections.
I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for login in to your bank or credit card’s site to check your balance, or even checking your email with a public Wi-Fi connection.  It’s so easy to hack in and see exactly what you’re doing! 
15. My lovely assistant – the cashier.
Even when you use your credit card at legitimate stores, the cashier can be in on the act.  If they turn their back to you or take a little too long fumbling around behind the counter, they might be scanning your card into a handheld skimming terminal to harvest your information.  Or they can simply take a picture of the front and back of your card with their cell phone.  
Originally posted here, and credit for this article goes to Jeff Sipes. 
Posted by Colleen Lane on


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