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The most common identity theft crime is credit identity theft. Quite simply, thieves get access to your credit card information and go on a shopping spree. The erroneous charges often go undetected until your next billing statement arrives. Below are three tactics thieves use to steal your information with accompanying suggestions on what to do to guard against becoming a victim of credit card identity theft:
Pilfering your purse or wallet. Crowded areas where people are likely to be bumping into one another are ideal places for thieves to pick your pocket or blatantly grab your purse and run. Carry only the identification information and cards you need each time you go out. Remember to also be cautious at work by keeping your personal items under lock and key.
Stealing your mail. Thieves know that new credit cards issued come directly to you in the mail as well as your bank statements, newly ordered checks, and a host of other documents that contain your personal information. If you do not have a locked mailbox, pick up your mail promptly, never leaving it to sit overnight or pile up while you are on vacation.
Dumpster diving. Your carelessly tossed trash could easily become another person's goldmine. Discarding expired credit cards, bank statements checks, and credit offers you receive in the mail without shredding them is playing into the hands of thieves who find all the information they need by picking through trash cans and recycling bins. Cut up old credit cards into several pieces and discard the pieces over the course of several garbage collections. Invest in a personal shredder to destroy documents.
For more recommendations for protecting yourself from credit card fraud, visit the Federal Trade Commission web site.