Three keys to stealing your identity
- Full name
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
If a financial institution fails to check, an identity thief can get by with even less identifying information.
How a thief can impersonate you
- Account takeover
A thief steals your existing credit account information and makes purchases.
- Application fraud (“true name fraud”)
A thief uses your Social Security number and other personal data to open new accounts in your name, then uses your credit rating to borrow money and make purchases.
How a thief can get your personal data
Stealing un-safeguarded data from your employer
- Your employer stores your personal data in media that are not adequately secured.
- Your employer Insufficiently restricts your personal data when sharing with other companies.
- Your employer inappropriately uses your Social Security number for identification.
- Crimeware (e.g., phishing program, Trojan horse, spyware) installed by a thief on your computer steals your stored personal data.
- A thief tricks you into entering your personal data at a fake website that mimics an authentic one.
- Crimeware directs you to a fraudulent website, even if you type the real address into your browser.
- Antivirus and anti-spyware programs may not detect the newest crimeware.
- A thief can buy a crimeware kit and use it to steal your personal data.
- A thief rummages through your trash and gets your personal or business information.
Stealing your mail
- Always use a secured mail box.
- Your unsecured mail box is a treasure trove of information about you and your business transactions.
- A mail thief can forward your accounts to another address.
- A thief swipes your credit card with a scanner and steals the data.
- If possible, be present when your credit card is swiped, and make certain it is swiped only once.
- Employers need to screen and train employees, monitor their performance, and encourage stronger laws on scanner use.
Raiding your discarded computer
- When you discard a computer or other electronic storage device, use special software to completely erase it so that a thief can’t retrieve your stored data.
- Simply deleting data does not physically erase it from a hard drive.
- All NC State computer equipment that is to be surplussed must have the hard drive completely erased or removed and destroyed.
- It must also have verification paperwork completed.
- Removal software is available to students, faculty and staff.
- See Data Removal for instructions.
Go to Identity Theft main page.
Go to Safe Computing at NC State.