Opportunity Strikes Identity theft isn’t always targeted. It often begins when an opportunity presents itself, like finding an unshredded credit card application that must have blown off of a garbage truck. What does it reveal? A name, an address and a proposed line of credit.
The Stake Out Now that I know the address, I can watch the house and find out what day they put out their garbage. If they didn’t shred this credit app, they probably have thrown away other unshredded documents that might have value. I wait until nightfall and start diving.
A Small Prize I find an expired car insurance policy. This indicates that they might have recently switched insurance companies. I will come back over the following weeks to keep digging, but for now I can use this.
Gone Phishin’ Their phone number is on the policy. I make a call pretending to be the insurance company and thanking them for renewing their policy. The victim insists there must be some mistake, that the policy was cancelled. I apologize. I validate with their information: name, address, makes and models of cars covered. I know their policy number. I now seem completely legit. To confirm their cancellation I need their social security number….
By shredding everything, even documents that seem to contain nothing important, you can avoid becoming an entry in an identity thief’s diary.
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Why do corporate spies still dumpster dive? Here’s a list of what they are looking for and why:
Company Phone books
Can give a hacker names and numbers of people to target and impersonate.
Contain information about people who are in positions of authority within the organization.
Provide small amounts of useful information for creating authentic looking fake memos.
Show hackers how secure and insecure a company really is.
Can tell a corporate spy which employees are out of town at a particular time.
Sensitive data and other sources of technical information may give a hacker the exact information he needs to access the network.
If you are not sure whether or not it should be shred–shred it.
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Find more information on document based identity theft protection.
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College students are five times more likely to be a victim of identity theft than the general public. To protect yourself make sure to use this simple rule: shred it or secure it.
Shred confidential documents right away that are no longer needed, Secure confidential documents that you still need. Here’s why:
The Dorm Room Dilemma
Dorm rooms are accessible by virtually everyone in the building. Identity theft becomes easy when thieves can fish bank account statements, credit card applications and other documents containing highly sensitive information from the wastebasket next to a dorm room desk. Shred these unwanted documents so your trash can doesn’t become a treasure trove for identity thieves.
College students may also be feel very secure in their dorms and not think twice about leaving sensitive documents such as checkbooks and social security cards in unlocked areas. Secure all confidential documents in a locked safe place to prevent identity theft in your absence.
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