Identity Theft FAQ

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How can my identity be stolen?

Someone could steal your identity very easily by:

  • stealing your wallet
  • filling out a change of address form for you and collecting your mail
  • snatching your unshredded pre-approved credit slips from the trash
  • ordering unauthorized credit reports on you by posing as a potential employer or landlord
  • looking over your shoulder at phones and ATMs to gather PINs (sometimes with binoculars or listening devices)
  • using phony telemarketing schemes to con you into giving your personal data
  • phishing -- that is, attempting to get you to provide your personal or financial information by responding to Internet pop ups or spam
  • getting personal information from you by emailing bogus job offers and requesting that you provide certain information
  • illegally tapping a computer at a business to which you have provided information or by which you have been granted credit (this is often done by dishonest or disgruntled employees), or
  • gathering sensitive information and using it as a way to extract revenge (this is usually done by a former friend, lover, roommate, or coworker -- and it's more common than most people realize).

To learn how to protect yourself against identity theft, see Nolo's article Preventing Identity Theft.

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