The major misconception about identity thieves is that they only want your information in order to obtain credit cards in your name. While some do have that goal, others have more heinous reasons for wanting to impersonate you.
Email scammers will often use the lure of large sums of money in order to obtain your personal information. The information they request looks harmless on the surface. The follow quote is from an actual scam email:
You are required to contact the above person and furnish her with the following of your information that will be required to avoid any mistakes:-
1. Your Full name:
2. Your Country:
3. Contact Address:
4. Telephone Number:
5. Fax Number:
6. Marital Status:
They are not asking for your social security number, driver license number or bank account numbers. The information above is all an identity thief needs to create false documents and impersonate you.
Some email scammers may go as far as requesting photographs:
Therefore do not hesitate to contact and re-confirm the following information as listed below:
1. YOUR FULL NAME:
2. YOUR HOME ADDRESS:
3. YOUR DIRECT CELL NUMBER:
4. A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE:
5. YOUR COUNTRY:
6. AGE AND GENDER:
Are there photographs of you posted along with your personal information on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or other social media websites?
Can anyone with Internet access find the names of your spouse and children?
Do you have “friends” or “followers” on any of your social media web pages that you have never heard of before?
Anonymity on the Internet is your only line of defense. Did you waive your right to privacy in a vain attempt to become famous?
You not only put yourself at risk, you put your entire family at risk. Is it worth it?
Some people in high profile positions have no choice but to release personal information about themselves. However, famous people are rarely ever the target of ID thieves, since their names are too easily recognized. The average Joe Schmo, on the other hand, doesn’t warrant even a second look when presenting his identification credentials.
Criminals who manufacture methamphetamine (meth) require large amounts of the drug pseudoephedrine, which is chiefly found in nasal decongestants. US Federal law requires retailers to obtain and record the identification of anyone purchasing over-the-counter cold remedy medications containing pseudoephedrine. Such decongestants can only be legally purchased in limited quantities.
Meth makers will use a large number of false identifications at different locations to obtain the necessary amounts of pseudoephedrine to keep their production at profitable levels.
Your identification might be used in such nefarious operations if you’ve provided enough personal information online for someone to produce a fake ID.
Take note that both of the examples quoted above ask for your age. This gives the identity thief the year you were born. From that, they can obtain through public records your exact birth date. Is your real birthday posted online? In with your profile, perhaps?
Using a pseudonym online is a good idea if and only if that pseudonym is never cross-linked to your real name. Hiding behind a nom de plume only works if no one can connect it to your actual identity.
What information can identity thieves find about you?
Do they already have all of your personal information?
You sure about that?