1) My least favorite credit card? American Express, because they like to ask me for your zip code.
2) Your unlocked mailbox is a gold mine. I can steal your account numbers and send in pre-approved credit offers. Sometimes, I pretend that I am delivering flyers to get to your mail. If you use a locking mailbox, I have to move on.
3) Even with all the new technology, most of us still steal your information by swiping your purse, wallet or go dumpster diving.
4) Speaking of dumpster diving, I just say my girlfriend lost her ring or I’m looking for my keys if anyone asks.
5) One time I was on the run and needed a new identity, so I went through the dumpster at a hospital, found a statement with a name, date of birth and social security number and was that person for two years.
6) Is your social security number on your checks or used as ID numbers on insurance? Thanks!
7) When I send out “phishing” emails posing as your bank or online merchant, you listen to me and respond with account numbers and passwords.
8) I never use my home computer to buy things with your stolen identity; I like to use public computers so they can’t trace me.
9) If you use the same ATM for your transactions, you might notice changes like the skimmer I put in there to get your account information.
10) Sometimes I pose as a professional and go “office creeping” to steal purses and wallets off of unsecured desks.
11) How much are you worth? I can buy stolen account and identity information off the net for $10 -$50.
12) Thanks for writing your pin number on that piece of paper I found in your wallet.
13) It may be easier for you not to use a password, when you use an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, but beware; we have software that can “scoop up” all of the data your computer transmits.
Now, I don’t expect you to be able to do something about all of these issues, but it never hurts to know what is going on out there in terms of Identity Theft. Knowledge is power and the more you know about it, the better you can prepare and prevent it.
There are several websites out there that provide very good information on prevention and what you should do if you become a victim.
Check out www.ftc.gov, the Federal Trade Commission and www.idtheftcenter.org, the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.