Identity theft (or ID theft) is the process whereby a criminal steals your name, contact information and other personal information to commit fraud or other crimes – normally resulting in their own financial gain. ID theft has become an increasing epidemic in the United States and elsewhere, as the growth of the Internet has provided new opportunities to “cash in” by stealing the identities of others.
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An ID thief can get your information hundreds of ways. The goal of most identity theft scams is to access your credit card or bank account information. If you keep that in mind at all times, it can help you remain more vigilant about protecting your information and your money. Below are just some of the deceptions that criminals use to steal your identity.
INTERNET: Online “phishing” has become very popular. ID thefts occur when you receive emails from people posing as legitimate companies asking for your contact or credit card information. Some will directly ask you to send them a check.
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Many fellow employees are responsible for inter-company identity thefts. Surprisingly, a large segment of the identities were stolen not by an employee – but by the owners and managers of many companies or small businesses.
If any employer requests your Social Security number, a Privacy Act notice must also be presented to you. Never provide your Social Security information until you have been officially offered a new job. If a Social Security card is requested, see if a copy will suffice. If the actual card must be presented, be sure to return the card to a drawer or safe place at home. Do not carry it around with you.
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