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Identity Theft - How does someone steal your identity?

How do these people get my name? If you have a credit card, your name is sold to third parties, if you do not want this to happen, you must contact your credit card companies to inform them that you do not want your information sold. Check the privacy notice that comes with your bill. If you enter contests, your information becomes public.

Also, when you buy a new product, and fill out the warranty cards, those companies sell that information you provide to other companies. Since when does your toaster manufacturer need to know you households' annual income to extend a warranty on your toaster? Thieves use dumpster digging, phishing, and pharming to obtain your information.

Things they steal from your trash include:

Pre-approved credit card offers

The identity thief completes them and has the credit card sent to them at a different address.

Loan applications

The thief complete the application and have the money sent to a phony address.

Bank statements

They then have your bank account number and can print counterfeit checks
Becky Palmer, a Consumer Credit Counselor, knew of someone who had their wallet stolen, and they used the credit card to buy a $5000.00 gift card at Wal mart, this then become very hard to trace.

People that are more at risk are senior citizens, people with disabilities and immigrants, but remember that everyone, including children are at risk. Senior citizens are home all day; they might get a phone call from a fake charity asking for money. Immigrants are desperate for credit, they may have just arrived in the US and know they need credit to do anything and are not aware of these scams. People with disabilities are home, and may become a victim of phone or online fraud. There have also been cases of home care providers taking advantage of their clients. Remember, it is not always a stranger that can steal someone's identity. Did you know children can be victims of identity theft? This could affect or ruin their credit before they even are able to build up credit for themselves. There have been cases of parents using a child's name for their electric bill or phone bill when they have bad credit or owe the utility company money. Thieves will obtain the social security number of these children then use that number to get credit cards and rack up purchases.

Some of these scammers will call you and say they are from a fictitious charity. They will offer to have your contribution automatically deducted from your checking account and will ask for your routing number, bank name, and account number. DO NOT GIVE OUT THIS INFORMATION! If you pick up a call from a telemarketer, ask them the following questions and if they are a fraud, they will hang up quickly.

Who do you work for? They will try to give you the name of the fake charity here, so ask them "who pays your salary?"

How much of my donation (percentage) goes to this charity and what is the rest of the money used for?" If they are for real, they can easily give you this information.

What is the charity's full name, address and phone number?

Once you have the above information you can check with the state attorney generals' office or secretary of state to see if the charity is registered. Also check the charity's rating thru the Better Business Bureau at


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