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Tips and Tricks to Get Your Identity Stolen!

So, you’ve been keeping up on Identity Theft Week here at PTY and all you can think to yourself is “Wow! This is awesome! I wish someone would come along and steal my identity, so that I, too, can join the throng of victims!” I understand. Having your identity stolen is the “new black.” So I’ve developed this handy guide to help you get your identity stolen, and make it easy for identity thieves to do a lot of damage.

(I suppose, if for some reason you don’t want your identity stolen, you could just do the opposite of everything in this post. If that’s the way you want to go.)

Social Security Number: The One Piece They Really Need
The fastest, easiest way to get your identity stolen would be to hand out your Social Security number like candy. If you’re filling out paperwork, or are on the phone, and you’re asked for your social security number, give it out freely! Never question why they might need it, and even if the service or person you’re talking to really needs it at all.

In truth, the only time anyone should need your SSN is for tax purposes, such as employment, or savings accounts that pay taxable interest. But if you can maximize the amount of other times you give out your SSN, then you probably don’t need to do anything else to get your identity stolen!

For bonus points, use your SSN as a username or password for as many web sites as you can!

The Shredder: Your Natural Enemy
Nothing deters your friendly neighborhood ID thief like a paper shredder! If you shred the mail you throw away instead of simply pitching it, then ID thieves can’t get your personal information off of it, now can they? You’d be surprised how little information they really need – so it’s probably best not to shred anything at all. Good, now you’re one bank statement away from ID theft!

Your Mailbox is Your Portal to ID Theft Fun!
Do you know what the nickname for the red flag on a mailbox is? It’s called the “Come Steal Me” flag! Yes, mail your checks and important paperwork out of your driveway mailbox – because those big, ugly blue boxes are near-impossible for ID thieves to get into. And if they can’t get into it, how are they going to get your mail?

Debit Cards – Of Course I Want to Be Liable for the Charges!
Credit cards and debit cards offer different layers of protection for fraudulent charges. If you use a credit card for all of your non-cash purchases (and pay it off every month), then you’re no liable if an ID thief uses your card. But with a debit card, the money instantly goes out of your account (probably even causing you to overdraft!), and won’t be put back until it’s proven that you didn’t make those charges. It’s almost like giving ID thieves a free loan from your checking account!

Checks – Easily Stolen, Forged, and Duplicated!
High-class ID thieves will use the checks you write – either to lift your signature, get your account number, or simply to deposit into their own account (if they can manage it). So memorize this simple phrase for every transaction you make: “Will you take a check?”

RECAP TIME!

  • Give out your Social Security number all the time, for any reason. Never question it.
  • Don’t shred papers containing personal information before you throw them out.
  • Send mail out of your own mailbox, with the “come steal me” flag!
  • Use a debit card instead of a credit card, to maximize the damage an ID thief can do.
  • Write checks whenever you can.

If you’ve followed these simple steps, congratulations! Your identity has probably already been stolen! Now go check your credit report and make sure!

Sources:
Consumerist: How Frank Abagnale Protects Himself From Identity Theft
Identity Theft: Stolen Futures (video)

19 responses to “Tips and Tricks to Get Your Identity Stolen!”

  1. Mercedes

    Now go check your credit report and make sure!

    That should have been “and make sure you never monitor your credit report ever again. If you don’t know what’s happening then it can’t really hurt!”

  2. The Friday Gathering | Gather Little By Little

    [...] Stephanie over at Poorer Than You wrote about Tips and Tricks to Get Your Identity Stolen [...]

  3. jos

    this is a joke right? no one actually really wants their idenity stolen? or do they? hummm
    i may have missed something . . .

  4. Mercedes

    It is a joke, who would really want their identity stolen pretty much this lists what not to do but in a funny way but maybe people missed that

  5. Gene

    I once had an affiliate who I paid a commission to using a paper check, create a whole new check for a 4-figure amount and deposit it! It cleared, but when I balanced my account, the thief was caught and busted. Taught me a valuable lesson!

  6. ray

    Yes it is not mentioed much but stealing from a mailbox is a problem and is one way to get your identity stolen. Get a locking mailbox. :C)

  7. Ray Baker

    Don’t forget online security as well. If you buy stuff online, you need to protect your computer from spyware and adware – often these apparently harmless little programs can steal your information and cause you huge amounts of misery.

  8. lknight

    I really do want my identity stolen i want a new one fresh social security number and all.

  9. Steve - Identity Theft Victim

    I have been a victim of identity theft and it can cause you all kinds of hassle and trouble. So if that’s your idea of a good time, I am sure these steps will be really useful.

  10. Christani

    It is a joke, who would really want their identity stolen pretty much this lists what not to do but in a funny way but maybe people missed that

  11. Ann

    No one want their identity be stolen. That is why when this happen among the major things you need to do is report to the authorities first.

  12. Ruri@Free article submission

    Right now many people try so many way to steal other people identity. Sometimes they cover themselves as telemarketer that offer the product or something.

  13. Luc

    I’ll give it a try ;-)

    You shouldn’t only shred paper, but also CDs, DVDs and hard disks, here’s some reading: http://www.cleverandeasy.com/Security/avoid-identity-theft-and-shred-cds-and-dvds-too.html
    . The hard disk might be the difficult one, but using a hammer is a good alternative.

    Oh yes, another great tip: put as much personal data onto unencrypted USB memory sticks. And loose or misplace those.

  14. Emily

    @Gene and everyone: When I was an undergrad, I was VOLUNTEERING for a program at the university. When it came time to do my taxes, my W-2′s didn’t quite add up. After some investigating, I found out that one of the people who worked at the program had submitted hours under my name/social security and was taking the checks and forging my name as they came in every other week. What a huge hassle. Since it all happened at the university, it was a bit easier to find out how, who and they were caught and fired. Still very creepy and scary and again, huge hassle. It amazed me the sort of things that people would do for extra cash.

  15. James

    Thank you for posting this, I was greatly helped by your this post, hopefully you’ll be adding useful articles like this next time, and I’ve bookmark your blog, so I can always visit denagn easily here.