Your identity is extremely valuable and it needs to be protected at all times. With just a few of your personal details, scamsters can take new loans and mortgages, buy luxury goods, obtain credit cards, transfer your home title to their names, and apply for passports and driving licenses in your name.
Note: One of the worst identity theft crimes is title theft. It was in the year 2008, when the FBI warned homeowners about home title theft which combines identity theft and mortgage fraud. If you are looking for a home title theft attorney, you can contact the Law Office of David L. Fleck.
When it comes to identity theft, most people are unaware of how easily their identities can be stolen or compromised. Dumpster diving is one of the easiest and old-fashioned ways to steal someone’s identity. Here we discuss a few useful insights on dumpster diving and what you can do to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands and reduce your risk of identity theft.
Dumpster diving : check these useful insights
For an identity thief, a dumpster can be a gold mine — full of important documents that are discarded. As they are usually left outside, it is easy for identity thieves to rummage through the trash and gain access to important documents without your knowledge. Hence, it is important for you to be aware of the items you throw away and how you throw them away. For instance, junk mail is one of the most common pieces of rubbish that is thrown away without being opened. Junk mails contain your name and address. However, if you have previously subscribed to a magazine, purchased items from a store, or have done any kind of business with an organization, club, or charity, your junk mail can also include important personal information which can be used by criminals to steal your identity.
Here is a list of some of the documents that can be used by criminals for identity theft:
- Bank statements
- Credit card receipts
- Receipts and invoices
- Utility bills
- Insurance forms
- Pre-completed application forms
- Insurance letters
- Old check books
- Subscription renewal notices
- Appointment letters
- Expired credit, debit, and store cards
- Expired membership or insurance cards
- Expired passports
- Expired driving license
- Tax forms
However, many people throw away these documents without realizing their importance. There are organized gangs who pay people to search through dumpsters and steal documents that might contain useful personal information.
Before throwing away documents, shred them
Do not make your information easily available to the identity thief. Shred paperwork with personal information and all the financial documents before you discard them. When throwing away shredded documents, consider disposing of some of the shredded paper at home and some at work. You can buy shredders for destroying documents. Some of the shredders are powerful enough to shred even credit cards, floppy discs, and DVDs. There are different types of shredders: strip-cut and cross-cut shredders. Strip-cut shredders can be used for shredding non-sensitive documents. However, for financial documents or paperwork containing any personal information such as medical bills or pre-filled application forms, a cross-cut shredder is highly recommended.
Identity thieves can also target discarded and old electronic items from dumpster
In addition to targeting the paper contents of your rubbish bin, identity thieves can steal discarded electronic items. Old and discarded hard drives and USB sticks can have an enormous amount of personal information even after you have deleted all the files. Tech savvy identity thieves can use different tools to recover deleted files and gain access to your personal data such as scanned bank statements, passports, credit card bills, and medical details. If you are planning to dispose of your old hard drives, simply hitting the “delete” button is not enough to stop your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Here is a useful read on disposing of your electronic devices safely.
Your identity is your most valuable asset. You can search for the best companies for identity theft protection that will keep you safe from identity theft for a fee. Also, there are some companies that help you through the process to recover your identity if you are a victim of identity theft. However, these companies do not provide any prevention or protection services. So, when selecting the best companies for identity theft protection, choose wisely.