How to Get Your Identity Stolen
Sharing your social security number
No one should know your social security number. If your parents happen to not know it then keep it that way. This is something everyone should take to the grave. Even the closest family members can stir up controversy if they have your social security number in their grasp. Desperate people do desperate things, and a social security number of someone they know is doing well will come in handy. Unfortunately money tends to have a stronger bond than love in some people's hearts, so be careful.
You don't necessarily have to share this information to get your identity stolen. Leaving a check stub out and about can lead to this happening. Where I'm from, paychecks and stubs have the social security number of the employee on it so keep it say or burn it. You're one step closer to protecting your identity.
Operating on "infected" computers
The Internet is the most dangerous place for personal information. So many threats created and more being manufactured as you read this. The Internet is a how to method for getting your identity stolen and it can be completely undetected on many occasions. Malicious codes can slip into a computer without being detected by the most powerful anti-virus software. There are steps to take that can ensure the protection of your personal information.
I'm a happy user of Avast Internet Security. No form of Internet activity takes place on the Internet from my computer unless it is done in the Avast sandbox. What the Avast sandbox does is prevents malware and other malicious codes from entering your computer. Once done, I delete my history and continue about my business. For financial purposes, I open up the Safe Mode, which is separated from the computer's operating system. It prevents being monitored by spyware and keyloggers, plus Safe Zone is a clean section, probably cleaner than a newly purchased computer.
Don't throw it in the dumpster
Anything with your name, credit card, financial, or personal information of any sort should not be placed in the trash. Identity thieves sometimes rummage through garbage to obtain valuable information they can use to get someone else's personal information. Paper work isn't the only way people can get your information out the trash. Thrown away devices in public places can also end badly for you.
Technological equipment can carry personal information. This includes PCs, mobile phones, PDAs, USB memory sticks and external hard drives, and backup data discs. When someone "cracks" into these devices, they can see everything that has ever been stored on it. It might end badly if you've done any financial work on it.
When getting rid of credit or debit cards, I usually cut it, burn it, and cut it some more, then burn it. This can give a very foul smell so I suggest doing this outside. Once it cools off and you feel its unlikely your garbage will be set on fire, place the pieces in a bag with other trash and place that bag in a bigger pile of trash. Whose gonna take time to collect a whole bunch of burnt pieces of credit/debit cards that are too charred to use or view information?
Protect your children
Child identity theft can happen as well. It happened to me when I was 15. My social security number was used to take out a loan by a family member. It was quickly paid off and an arrest was made thanks to being a warden of the state, Keep your child's personal information safeguarded at all times.
Sometimes when creating accounts, we have a tendency to answer security questions that we know but others don't. The problem with this is a close friend or family members know what your answer is. They can use this to gain access to your account with ease and you may not even know about it. Simple questions like what is your mother's maiden name and where did you attend high school can backfire.
To protect your accounts from being verified and compromised by other people, choose difficult questions that no one would expect to be there. Something like a prescription medicine you were subscribed once would be difficult to answer, unless someone knows the answer to that too.
Avoid Bogus Jobs
It may be difficult to tell if a job offer is legitimate or not. Some fake job posts are there for the sole purpose of gathering personal information and resumes from unsuspecting victims, and in return using this data for their own evil purposes. These job posts will use names, addresses, social security numbers, and bank account details. Some even exploit your phone number by means I haven't come to fully understand yet.
Protect your personal information by keeping your checks in a safe place. The average check has bank account and routing numbers n them. They can use this information somehow to gain access to your financial accounts and steal money from them. It can also lead to identity theft.