4 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen

Smartphone in hand, concept of data protection, blue

Your phone’s SIM card could be taken. This is a hacking con in which a criminal uses a SIM reader or scanner to copy the information on your SIM card, a memory chip in your mobile phone. Once a thief has the code to your SIM card, they can copy it and basically use your phone’s information to make phone calls for free. Well, it isn’t free of course. You get to pay for those calls. Be wary of where you leave your mobile phone.

You could fall prey to visual hacking. This is when you are hacked by someone who spies your computer screen and steals information.

Given how easily strangers can come in contact with us at work – and in life, it’s worth thinking about. It’s also easy to imagine a thief pulling out a smartphone and taking a close-up photo of someone’s driver’s license, credit card or bank statement and slipping away without anyone being the wiser.

A spokeswoman for the Visual Privacy Advisory Council, suggests putting privacy filters and screen protectors on computer monitors, tablets and smartphones. That way, you can see what’s on your screen, but someone next to you, say on an airplane, can’t. And for those who are really worried, there are software filters that use facial recognition to recognize the computer user.

Someone could kidnap your digital identity. It may not be as troubling as getting your Social Security Number or credit card stolen, but it’s easy to imagine how someone could do a lot of damage to your reputation and more in this realm (i.e.; pretending to be you on Twitter).  Be sure to keep an eye out for this and review your security settings, along with changing your password frequently.

You could meet an old school thief. You might think that going off-the-grid has never sounded better. Give up an online presence. Get a landline. Just use cash. But you still need to be careful not to overlook old fashioned methods of identity theft.

One idea – if you use a check book, you may want to leave it at home and put a blank check in your wallet, if you’re going to be writing a check later in the day.  Just make sure your wallet isn’t left somewhere it can be swiped. Or photographed.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Check out First Financial’s ID Theft Protection products – click here to learn more.

Article Source: Geoff Williams for http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/06/09/4-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen

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