What Can Identity Thieves Do Once They Have Your Personal Data?

identity-theft
identity-theft

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is still a prime target of cybercriminals, because once they have access to this information, they can use your name or likeness for committing a wide-range of criminal activities. For victims, it can prove to be long, costly and difficult to remediate these actions.

Here are just some of the things these thieves can accomplish with the various types of PII:

Social Security Number

  • Obtain a government ID (such as a driver's license)
  • Apply for employment using your information
  • Gain access to Social Security or Disability payments
  • Receive Medicare/Medicaid benefits under your name
  • File a fraudulent tax return

Government-Issued Identification (e.g. Driver’s License or Passport)

  • Purchase a vehicle
  • Rent a house or apartment
  • Begin utility services (such as cable, natural gas and electric)
  • Activate a post-paid cell phone

Medical Records and e-PHI (Electronic Protected Health Information)

  • Obtain medical care by using your insurance information
  • Apply for additional health benefits
  • Have prescriptions filled in your name
  • Threaten to blackmail you through disclosure of sensitive personal information

Financial Information

  • Gain access to your existing bank and brokerage accounts
  • Open new bank or credit card accounts in your name
  • Change the billing address for your accounts
  • Make electronic withdrawals from your accounts
  • Apply for a loan using your information

So how can you protect yourself? Here are just a few simple steps you can take:

  1. Keep your online information, such as logins and passwords, secure
  2. Look out for phishing scams online and by phone
  3. Make sure to shred all sensitive documents
  4. Monitor your credit report
  5. Consider purchasing ID theft protection

And of course, for any end-of-life computers, cell phones or other electronics, may sure they are properly recycled AND have the data stored on them destroyed. Dropping off your items at the landfill or a box store bin doesn’t guarantee either.  By trusting your old devices to an R2 and NAID AAA Certified processor like e-End, you’ll be certain that the personal information on your hard drive, memory card or other storage media will be 100% destroyed and unrecoverable by any means.

By taking just a few precautions, you can help to keep yourself from being another victim.