ID Theft Education: Learning from Identity Thieves

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It seems like I'm always talking about companies that have accidentally leaked the data of their customers or had their security breached and data stolen.  Though many people are stunned when they hear just how many places identity thieves get their information from and how many ways they use it, we can learn from their antics...if not, we should be.

Even as identity theft becomes more high-tech and massive identity theft rings are being formed, learning about the tactics these thieves use can help you to keep yourself and your family safe from identity theft.

Take for example the recent report from Richard Power of Carnegie Mellon CyLab concerning the prevalence of identity theft among children.  Before reading the statistics that show children to be 51 times more likely to have their identity stolen than adults, would you have even thought that this is something you should be concerned about?  As shameful as it is that these thieves are targeting children and using their Social Security numbers to establish new credit lines, the fact that this information is finally being noticed and highlighted now can help parents to keep their children safe from these lowlife predators.

The same goes for some of the identity theft rings that have been busted lately such as the massive bust in Queens, New York  and smaller busts in places such as Canton, Georgia where another 8,000 identities were reported compromised.

Though it's frightening how organized some of these theft rings are, learning more about them can help you to keep yourself safe.  Reading about the busts often reveals important information about how the thieves picked their targets, how they got the information that they used to commit fraud and even what specific types of fraud they committed using the stolen identities. This can cause you to focus on parts of your identity that you might not have been protecting very well and theft methods that you'd never even considered protecting yourself against.

Having more knowledge about fraud risks may move you to take a closer look at your behavior; what you reveal about yourselves in social media networks and how you protect yourself, your family and data both online and in the real world.
It's scary sometimes to see how advanced some of the identity thieves are, especially when they use emerging technologies to steal the identities of people that they've never met who are hundreds or thousands of miles away.  This is why it's essential that you don't assume that the same old techniques are going to keep you safe.

Some identity thieves are living at the cutting edge of technology, and the credit monitoring service that you signed up for back at the turn of the century or the identity-obscuring tricks you learned in the 90's aren't going to keep you safe from this new type of criminal.  We've all got to learn from them; learn what they're looking for and learn how to keep them from getting it.

Id theft education is the greatest tool you've got, and taking an active interest in protecting your own identity will go a lot farther for you than assuming that identity theft won't happen to you or that the criminals of today are using the same tactics as last month or last year.  Stay smart, stay vigilant and stay on top of your whole identity --if you want to beat the identity thieves at their own games.
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