Identity Theft: What Information Do Scammers Need?

With more and more of our information shared widely online, it stands to reason that identity theft is still growing. ID theft comes in many forms. To that end, we all have to be vigilant about our security details and what we share. But what exactly is it ID scammers and fraudsters are actively looking for in this day and age?

It’s worth remembering that the reputable sites we all visit are doing more to protect their users. After all, ID fraud can be costly to reputation and in terms of regulatory fines! It’s all the more reason you will start noticing automated identity proofing becoming more commonplace, for example. However, it is always worth knowing what scammers look for as a priority.

What the Scammer Wants

Your name, ultimately, is the first step in seizing ID fraud. However, it’s not really going to do much on the whole. That’s why you need to be sparing with information such as your address and your specific ID. Passports, driving licenses, and the like can be used to create false bank accounts or even commit crimes.

Surprisingly, your average scammer isn’t going to do much with an email address as-is. However, what a scammer is likely to do with an email includes sending potentially harmful mail to the recipient. This may consist of phishing attempts, such as seemingly legitimate mail that contains harmful links.

Essentially, the online and offline ID scammer is looking for keys to the door. That means they will want enough detail on you to impersonate you to an unsuspecting body. Or, they will want to know enough about you to trip you up. Whether it’s outright impersonating you or trying to gain your confidence, the average scammer needs little.

Naturally, it pays always to keep your card PINs private. Any information that’s known only to you – mobile and computer passwords included – should stay that way.

Ways to Protect Yourself

When it comes to protecting your data and your ID online, the basics are always the best to follow. If you don’t need to share the information – then don’t. If the information is unique to you and you alone, then it’s likely to be an asset to a scammer. What’s more, you should always keep your passwords and security phrases close to your chest.

Beyond this, always make sure only you and you alone have access to physical documents. Birth certificates, driving licenses, and passports are gold dust to a scammer. They can be used to both implicate you in wrongdoing and take out credit in your name.

Unfortunately, ID scams are always likely to persist. Thankfully, there is a wealth of technology out there to help us all stay safe as threats grow and adapt. It’s imperative to tread carefully with data and information deemed sensitive to you. It may surprise you how little scammers need!

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.