Identity theft is alive and well, and the criminals are pretty clever at how they can get the information. The low-hanging fruit includes discarded papers with Social Security numbers on it, which can be found in a trash can or dumpster. (So shred your documents before discarding them!) But there are scams to trick you into revealing your personal information, too.
In one, the thief posts a bogus real estate rental listing – say a condo at the beach – for a super cheap rate. When someone calls, they are asked for their ID info in order to run a credit check. But there is no super deal on the condo and the people on the other end of the phone do not work for the real estate rental company.
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Not all that long ago, many of us thought we only had to watch our credit cards to avoid identity theft. If the crooks didn’t get the numbers on our plastic, we thought, they couldn’t live it up and go on a wild shopping spree like the one in the movie Identity Thief.
But ID theft scams are all over the map, both in terms of geography and kinds of fraud, according to Federal Trade Commission data.