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How Does Identity Theft Occur?

upset woman looking at phone on couch

Picture this – you’re scrolling through social media, maybe chatting with friends or posting pics of your latest adventures. Seems harmless, right? But here’s the thing – every time you share personal information online, you’re potentially giving identity thieves a way in.

Identity theft occurs in many different forms, here are a few examples:

Public Wi-Fi: For example, you could be at your favorite coffee spot, enjoying a cup of joe and free Wi-Fi, thinking you are safe. Beware – public Wi-Fi can be a playground for hackers. They can set up fake networks that look legit but are actually designed to steal your information. Always be cautious when using public Wi-Fi, and avoid logging into sensitive accounts or sharing personal info while connected.

Personal Threats: Sometimes, threat comes from within. Whether it’s a dishonest employee or someone you know personally, insiders can misuse their access to your personal info for nefarious purposes.

Stolen Purses or Wallets: Someone’s wallet, purse, backpack, mail, even trash is a goldmine for a thief. They’ve just hit the jackpot when it comes personal identifying information. That’s why it’s crucial to keep an eye on your belongings and report any thefts right away.

Phishing: Phishing is when scammers send fake emails or messages pretending to be from legit companies. They’ll ask you to click on links or share your info, but really, they just want to steal it.

Data Skimming Devices: Ever used an ATM or paid at a gas station with your card? Thieves can install tiny devices called skimmers on these machines to capture your card info when you swipe. They blend in so well that you might not even notice them. Always give card readers a quick inspection before using them, and if something looks off, trust your gut and find another way to pay.

Corporate Data Breaches: What exactly is a corporate data breach? It’s when hackers or unauthorized people break into a company’s computer system and steal sensitive information. This could be anything from our names and addresses to financial information or even our passwords.

Stay informed! The more you know about how identity theft works, the better equipped you’ll be to prevent it. Subscribe to The Money Mill Blog for tips & tricks on how to protect yourself and your loved ones and visit our Fraud & Theft Protection page for more info on current scams.