Identity Theft Techniques
There are several ways that identity theft thieves gain access to your personal information. Lost wallets, purses, stolen or lost mail used to be the main source of such private information. Mail, which sometime, includes bank statements, pre-approved credit cards, and tax papers are a source of a large amount of data. In recent years, many have been known to steal records from their employer, bribe an employee who has access to these records, or hack into the organization’s computers. The less sophisticated thieves have perfected the art of “dumpster-driving” rummaging through trash. Abusing employer’s authorized access to credit reports or some even playing ‘landlord’ has given them unauthorized access to victim’s reports. Some victims have been scammed fro information by an identity thief posing as a legitimate businessperson or government official. In the most recent, the police have uncovered a more sophisticated case of ID theft. The newspapers stated, “Authorities think a portable credit card reader, or skimmer, was used to read personal information off a credit card’s magnetic strip. Then those details were applied to the strip on the back of a different cared.”
According to FTC statistics, approximately three hundred thousand Americans have their identity stolen each year. A survey they released they released in September 2003 reported that more than twenty seven million Americans were victims of identity theft in the last five years approx five percent of the U.S. population. Nearly twenty thousands of those were from North Carolina. A typical victim can average eight hundred dollars and two hundred hours in almost one year in the attempts to clean up his or her credit. Usually, the fraudulent charges can amount to about eighteen thousand dollars. Businesses, such as banks, mortgage companies, and etc. are also directly affected as a result of identity theft costing them billions of dollars each year.
Information gathered from various nationwide newspapers has indicated that some employees of companies that handle personal consumer information such as banks and utility companies, among others, have emailed confidential loan files to unauthorized third parties. This inappropriate employee use of email can result in identity persecution of the customer who have entrusted them with their personal data.
The thieves, who now have the information they need, proceed with going on spending sprees at the expense of the victim. They open new accounts in their name and SSN, write bad checks against a checking account or run up the charges on a credit card, then leave them unpaid. Some take out auto loans or even file bankruptcy. Due to having another person’s ID, the thieves have been arrested under the name of the identity theft victim, and sometimes, not showing up for their required court appearances has resulted in an arrest warrant issued in the name of the victim. Thus Identity theft is such a big problem that has no ends in the form of hidden thieves.