Identity Theft

How thieves get your personal information

Identity thieves and perpetrators of fraud find many ways to access your personal information. They may:

  • Go through your trash or recycling bin at home, work, or the public landfill
  • Misrepresent themselves as working for a legitimate organization (medical office, pharmacy, government agency, charity) to try to trick you into divulging bank account numbers or other personal information
  • Send you emails that look like they are from your bank or another institution you trust asking for personal data

After a perpetrator has gained access to your personal data, such as your social security number, health insurance information, or bank account numbers, they can:

  • Drain your bank accounts or investment accounts
  • Run up charges using your credit cards
  • Apply for loans and credit cards in your name
  • Open accounts for utilities, new charge cards, and other items in your name
  • Get medical treatment or prescriptions using your health insurance
  • Sometimes, give your name to the police in the event of an arrest
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