Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Methods Thieves Use To Steal Your Identity

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Phishing and SMiShing

Phishing involves sending you a fraudulent email that looks to be authentic, say an email from your bank asking you to verify your account information. Do not reply to these and never supply personal information via unsolicited email. Thieves have also taken to text messaging through a tactic called SMiShing. SMiShing is similar to phishing in that you will receive a fraudulent text message asking you to verify a purchase or account information. Don’t reply to these and delete the text message.

Dumpster Diving

Believe or not, dumpster diving is still a common practice used by thieves. Identity thieves will go through your garbage or public garbage cans looking for personal information. Protect yourself by shredding your documents.

Wireless Hacking

New to the arsenal of identity thieves is wireless hacking. Hackers will connect to public WIFI networks or unsecured home networks looking for personal information. Savvy hackers may even install key logging software that can track websites that you visit and passwords that you enter. Protect yourself by avoiding online banking on public WIFI networks and make sure your home network is secured.

Fake Lottery Winnings, Jobs, Etc.

Pretexting is a generic term for trying to get your personal information under false pretenses. With identity theft, we see this with fake lottery winning scams, false job advertisements, etc. Protect yourself by remembering this simple saying - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

ATM and Payment Machines

Chances are you use an ATM machine or payment processing device pretty frequently. Thieves have been known to shoulder surf or rig devices to steal information. Be on guard. Be aware of your surroundings and don't input your PIN so that everyone around you can see. If the device looks like it has been tampered with, don't use it.