Identity theft has always been a problem, as fraudsters take out loans in someone else’s name or use a false name and address when arrested or take out credit cards in the victim’s name.
Nowadays, identity theft is prevalent as it has become much easier in the electronic age. Every day, millions of phishing emails are sent out by scammers trying to get your confidential information so they can defraud you.
The key information they want is of course name, date of birth, logins and passwords and financial information. But whatever the criminal starts with, they may seek further information to make their fraud easier to commit. They may call you claiming to be from the council or the authorities or your bank etc. and use the information they have to convince you of their authenticity and then gain more from you in the guise of confirming your ID etc.
Or they may send you phishing emails – seeking under various guises to get more details from you.
A “phishing” email is one that pretends to be from some trusted organisation and seeks to get you to provide your confidential information e.g. credit card details, banking details, passwords etc.
Once the scammers have your details, they will try to access any accounts you could have.
For example:- to access your Amazon account, the scammer just needs your login and password. To set-up a new bank account in your name the scammer needs proof of ID (passport or drivers licence being the most common) plus proof of address, date of birth etc.
Watch out for suspicious emails or phone calls that try to trick you into disclosing personal information, based on already having some information about you.
Check out http://www.fightbackonline.org/index.php/guidance/12-explanations/50-the-mechanics-of-identity-theft for more information.
If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.