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Identity Theft Fraud: 16 Ways Thieves Steal And Find Your Information

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity thieves employ a variety of tactics to get your personal information, such as:

1. Dumpster Diving: They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

2. Skimming: They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

3. Phishing: They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

4. Changing Your Address: They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form at the post office.

5. Old-Fashioned Stealing: They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records or bribe employees who have access.

6. Pretexting: The use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies and other sources.

You many not realize how exposed you really are until you're the victim of identity theft fraud. The following are pieces of public information that unscrupulous identity thieves can use to their unlawful advantage: 

10 Ways How Anyone Can Find Out About You

1. Your current and previous address (from the U.S. Postal Service and Credit Bureaus)

2. Any criminal convictions (from court records)

3. Whether you have a professional license (from licensing agencies)

4. Whether you have filed lawsuits or been a defendant in a lawsuit (from court records)

5. If you've had speeding tickets, drunken driving convictions or other marks on your driving records (from the driver's license bureau)

6. What cars, trucks, boats, planes you own (from state motor vehicle records)

7. Whether you have filed for bankruptcy or had liens placed against your property (from court records)

8. What you have pledged as collateral for bank loans (from Universal Commercial Code filings, usually in county recorders' offices)

9. What pieces of real estate you own and how much they're worth (from county tax records)

10. Whether there's a warrant out for your arrest (from court records and police agencies) 

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