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Beyond the scam: understanding the risks of identity theft

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Identity Theft

Many people believe that identity theft only happens to those who fall for scams or are careless with their personal information. However, this misconception is far from the truth. Identity theft can happen to anyone, regardless of how cautious they are.

There are a variety of ways unauthorized transactions can occur, so it is important to stay vigilant.

The myth of scam targets

One common misconception is that identity theft only happens to people who fall for phishing emails, suspicious phone calls or other scams. While scams help criminals obtain personal information, they are not the only means. Even if you are cautious and never share your sensitive data with unknown parties, you can still experience identity theft.

The threat of data breaches

Data breaches occur when hackers gain access to a company’s database containing customer information, such as names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card details. Even if you have never fallen for a scam, your personal information gets compromised if a company you have done business with experiences a data breach.

The use of skimming machines

Another way identity theft can occur is through skimming devices or physical theft. Skimmers are small, hard-to-detect devices placed on ATMs or gas station pumps that capture your card information when you swipe or insert your card.

The threat of malicious software

Malicious software, such as viruses or spyware, can collect personal information from your computer without your knowledge. This can contribute to identity theft.

While being cautious and aware of scams is important, you should understand that there are many other ways unauthorized transactions can occur. Nearly a third of consumers in the U.S. report experiencing identity theft. By staying informed, regularly monitoring your accounts and taking swift action if you suspect identity theft, you can help protect yourself and your finances from this growing threat.