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a woman wondering how does identity theft happens
Posted on February 7, 2017 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

When you think about ways that thieves try to steal identities, what comes to mind? Phishing scams? ATM card skimmers? Hacking through an open Wi-Fi connection? If so, you wouldn’t be alone in your assumptions.

The reality of identity theft in our world is that it’s so much more than scams and fake e-mails from Nigerian princes—and it’s woven deep into our everyday lives. You may think that you never put yourself at risk of having your identity stolen, or that you’d be able to spot a sketchy situation a mile away, but it isn’t that simple. Identity thieves are everywhere, and certain things that you do in your daily life may put you in harm’s way.

Flashing a peace sign in a picture – Have you ever been guilty of flashing a casual peace sign in a photo? Researchers say that some cameras are so high-quality now that it’s possible to steal fingerprints from selfies. It may not be a huge deal right now, but biometric security is becoming more common, and it could become a bigger problem in the future.

Getting your bills mailed to you – Everyone has monthly bills, but if you’re still getting them mailed to you and haven’t signed up for electronic statements, you may want to rethink your strategy. Identity thieves can easily steal your bills or payments right out of your mailbox, which automatically gives them access to your full name, address, account number, and possibly more.

Filling out paperwork at the doctor’s office – Doesn’t it feel like you have to fill out new paperwork every time you see your doctor? Unfortunately, medical identity theft and breaches affecting healthcare companies have been on the rise. That means all of that personal information you hand over to your doctor could be easily stolen by a hacker looking to breach the system.

Posting on social media while you’re on vacation – The only thing more exciting than going on vacation is posting about it on social media to share your experience with friends and family. Try to resist the temptation, though. When you share photos and updates while you’re on vacation, you’re also telling identity thieves, “Hey! I’m not at home. Come rob me!” Remember, not all thieves are interested in big-screen TVs and jewelry—they may just steal your Social Security card and any other sensitive information laying around.

Putting out your trash every week – When you put your trash out on the curb every week for pickup, you probably don’t give it a second thought. Some identity thieves, though, love to go trash-picking in hopes that you and your neighbors aren’t big on shredding documents that contain personal data.

Choosing security questions for online accounts – When you’re setting up an online account, being prompted to establish security questions can be annoying. To get through it quickly, many people choose the most basic questions and answers—their mom’s maiden name, the city they were born in, or their high school mascot. Don’t choose anything, though, that identity thieves could easily find after spending some time on Google or Facebook.

Leaving receipts around – Most of us don’t give receipts much thought, and they get lost in pockets or left on the counter. Don’t be so quick to discard those little pieces of paper, though. Some receipts have the last digits of your credit or debit card on them, as well as your signature. Identity thieves are very good at collecting bits and pieces of information until they can create a full identity.

Accepting social media friend requests – Are you the type of person who accepts every friend request you receive on social media—regardless of whether or not you actually know the person? Be more discerning in who you accept because if you’re sharing a lot of personal information on your account, you never know who is listening.

Isn’t it amazing the lengths some identity thieves will go to steal your identity? And, unfortunately, these methods that affect your everyday life are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s too much for any one person to have to monitor on their own—but IdentityForce can help. We’ll keep our eyes on your identity 24/7, and if anything looks suspicious, we’ll alert you immediately and try to stop the damage before it even happens. Learn more about everything IdentityForce does to keep your identity safe.