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Identity Theft–What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information – such as your Social Security number, bank account number or other identification – and uses it to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name.
Criminals can obtain personal information via online and offline methods. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your email, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves may use to obtain personal information.
Recognize Identity Theft and Fraud
Identity thieves can strike even if you have been very careful with your personal information. The following may be signs of identity theft:
Fraud is an act that occurs when someone uses your account to make unauthorized transactions, usually when the account number or card has been stolen. The following may be signs of fraud:
Through the use of fraudulent emails, internet thieves attempt to “phish” for your confidential information. They attempt to steal this information from you by means of “pop-ups” or emails with internet links to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information (such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers).
Often the email appears to be from a trusted source (such as your bank) and directs you to a “spoof” Website that requests you to divulge sensitive information or even ask you to call a phone number and provide account information. But the Website is a fake.
Malware, short for “malicious software,” includes viruses, spyware and Trojans that are designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system.
Malware is often used to steal personal information and commit fraud. There are several easy ways to minimize the risk of malware: