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3 shocking ways people steal your information


2017-05-17 08:08:03
Despite chips in credit cards and other precautions, identity theft remains on the rise. According to the Insurance Information Institute, identity theft cost consumers $15.3 billion in 2015 and affected 13.1 million Americans. In 2016, those numbers jumped to $16 billion in losses and 15.4 million compromised consumers.

Part of the reason behind this upward trend lies in thieves' ingenuity. As fast as we can create barriers against thieves, the con artists find new ways to steal identities and new workarounds for the old scams. Following are three shocking ways thieves can steal your information.

Credit Card Swapping

Imagine pulling up to the drive-thru window at your favorite fast-food joint. You order your meal, pull up to the window, and hand your credit card to the cashier on the other side of the window.

You don't see what he or she does with your card. A few seconds later, you're handed your receipt and your card — but is it really your card?

Some scams involve switching credit cards at retail and restaurant locations. The thief simply pockets your card and hands back an identical one. It won't have your name and other identifying information on it, but how often do you check those things before you stick your plastic back in your wallet?

If possible, avoid handing your credit card to someone who will carry it out of your line of vision. When you get your card back, verify it before you drive off.

Theft via App
If you're like most people, you use your smartphone or tablet for myriad activities. Maybe you downloaded your bank's app or a few games to play during downtime. Each time you install an app, you give the creators certain permissions. Unfortunately, those permissions can result in stolen personal information.

To protect yourself, take steps to shield your personal data from the apps you use. If you don't trust an app, don't download it in the first place, and pay attention to the news so you know whether an app you've installed has experienced a breach or other security issue.

Impersonation
Identity theft isn't always high-tech. Impersonation has happened for hundreds of years; it's the act of literally assuming someone else's identity, usually to the real person's detriment.

For instance, what do you post on social media? Do you advertise your birth date? Post photographs of your home? Talk about your kids and grandkids? Thieves can mine this information at lightning speed and use it to steal your identity.

Even worse, a criminal could give your name to the police after being arrested. While it doesn't happen often, false arrests based on identity theft can prove costly and embarrassing. While it's a crime to give false information to a police officer, someone who has just robbed a home or assaulted a person would rather face that charge than the original.

Keep your information as private as possible. Whether online or off, don't divulge information that an untrustworthy person could use against you.
Identity theft happens every day. Know the dangers so you don't become a victim yourself.




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