Identity theft can be high tech, low tech or no tech. As we all know it can result from sophisticated computer hacking, but it also can come from as old fashioned a manner as pickpocketing your wallet or stealing your purse in which you may be carrying credit cards, your Social Security card or other identifying information that can be transformed into you becoming a victim of identity theft. In addition, identity thieves will also go through your trash to find material with information that can make you a victim of identity theft such as old checks, tax records, bank statements or old credit card bills. Many people do not give enough thought to their vulnerability to identity theft through these no tech methods of stealing your identity although the results can be every bit as devastating as becoming a victim of identity theft through computer malware.
Particularly now during the holiday shopping season, you should be very aware of the risk of purse snatchers and pickpockets. Do not carry in your wallet or purse any forms of identification or credit cards that you do not absolutely need to be carrying on that particular day. Seniors should be particularly aware that they should not carry their Medicare identification card with them because your Medicare identification number is the same as your Social Security number. A Social Security number is the key to identity theft. You should safeguard that number. When disposing of old or no longer needed documentation that has identifying information about you such as old bank statements, medical insurance bills, credit card bills or anything with your Social Security number on it, you should make sure that you shred these documents before disposing of them and make sure that you use a cross shredder because shredders that only shred in one direction do not provide sufficient security. One directional shredded material can be pieced together to provide an identity thief with information that can result in your becoming a victim of identity theft.