Getting scammed online is now pretty common since almost every American now has access to the internet. And the costliest among these scams and friends is identity theft. In fact, based on records from the United States Department of Justice, identity theft has cost victims more than motor vehicle theft, home burglary, and property theft combined. Combined! That’s a lot of funds lost and stress caused.
How Does Identity Theft Happen?
Identity theft occurs when someone gains access to your personal information and then pretends to be you. They might then be able to access your finances and steal your money. If they have enough data on you, they can also open credit lines under your name or file insurance claims in order to steal money from banks and companies.
This is why we have to be careful with what we share online, especially on social media platforms where strangers might be able to see what we post.
10 pieces of information thieves use to steal identities
In order to successfully scam a person, the offender needs specific data from you. Here are 10 things a scammer needs to steal your identity:
- Social Security Numbers
Probably the single most important data you need to keep safe. Your Social Security Number is the key to unlocking more information about you. From opening bank accounts to securing government documents, and even filing a fraudulent tax return, all these can be done if someone has your SSN.
- Your Full Name
This is the easiest data to obtain and is usually the jump-off point for a scammer to begin stealing your identity. Names can easily be found on the internet and if you happen to include your middle name in your postings, then a fraudster is another step closer to getting more details from you.
- Date and Place of Birth
Birthdates are another piece of information that is relatively easy to obtain. Many of us include our birthdays in our social media account information. Birthdays are common information being asked for when asking for confirmation to access sensitive information. And, despite being told not to do so, many people still use their birthdays as PINs and passwords to protect sensitive information.
Your place of birth is also key as it is usually asked for in security questions in cases of forgotten PINs and passwords. Scammers can simply claim they forgot your password and answer the security questions to gain access to your data.
- Bank Account Numbers, Card PINs, Card Expiration Dates and Security Codes
These three pieces of information can be used to gain access to your finances or to make purchases using your account. If a fraudster is able to gain access to this data, then expect to be either drained of funds or be slapped with a staggering amount of purchases on your next credit card billing statement.
We’ve already discussed using birthdays as PINs, and how they can easily be discovered by thieves. Well, the same goes for those who use simple numbers and sequences. 0000, 1234, or 2580, are all easy combinations and ones that the thieves will always try first.
- Addresses, both physical and electronic
Physical addresses are additional tidbits of information that scammers need to ensure they gain access to your private data and finances. Being able to name where you live can give them legitimacy when dealing with your banks and other offices.
Your email address is also one of the vital pieces of information a scammer needs. Emails are usually our usernames in many of our online accounts. This, plus a simple password, can give a scammer a field day on your social media profiles, as well as your financial data.
- Your Phone Number
Phone numbers are gateways for fraudsters to get in touch with you. Experienced scammers have the ability to be very convincing when talking to you over the phone to try and get your personal information from you. They know the right words to make you trust them or to induce panic and fear so that you fall right into their trap.
- Driver’s License or Passport Information
These two primary identification cards contain a chock full of information that scammers can use to steal your identity. Aside from the ID numbers themselves, they also contain your name, birthdate, place of birth, and address.
If fraudsters get a hold of even just a picture of what these documents contain, they can easily become you in the online world.
- Your Employment Data and Membership or Affiliation Info
These types of data may not seem to be a target of a scammer, but this information can be used in phishing attacks. Also, security in a social or sports club tends to be more lax than compared to banks and companies, making your information in these memberships more vulnerable to attacks.
It is important to take note that a successful scam doesn’t need to tick all ten of these points. As long as they are able to get the most vital data from just a few of these points, you are already a victim.
How To Know If Your Caller Is A Scammer
With ClickSearch, you can do a reverse phone lookup to finally discover who it is on the other end of the line. ClickSearch is a People-Finder service that not only gives you the name of your mystery caller, it offers a whole lot more. You might be able to find out if he really works for the company he says he represents. You will also be given a list of other phone numbers connected to your caller, giving you an idea of the numbers you need to avoid.
A ClickSearch report can also give you vital information about your caller. In real-time, you’ll discover if the caller has a public arrest record, liens, gun licenses, mugshots, and more. The advanced programming of this specialized search engine can provide past and present addresses, court documents, aliases, and even known accomplices.
The best part is, ClickSearch works on all browsers, even the one on your phone! You can now decide whether to take the call, leave them hanging, or outright block the number before he or she calls again. Then, you can continue on with your day in peace. Until the next unknown caller, that is. No worries, ClickSearch will be there to ease your worries away again.
What’s the difference between ‘unknown’ and ‘no caller ID’?
“Unknown” normally means that the network was not able to get the information when the call was made. Calls that appear as “No Caller ID” means that the caller has blocked their number from appearing on your caller ID when calling you.
Can you call back an unknown number?
*69 is a free service that allows you to return-call the last number that called you.
Why do unknown numbers call me and hang up?
These are called Robocalls. Answering them means that they have verified that your number is active. Expect more unwanted calls soon after.
How do I block calls from unknown numbers?
You can register your numbers on the National Do Not Call list to protect your landline and mobile phone numbers.
Tiffany is a lead writer who has a passion for all of the latest use of technology. Tiffany has been writing and delivering the latest app reviews and news for ClickSearch. She is an unbelievable author and continues to produce must-read content.