You’re eating lunch in a food court with your bag safely at your side, wallet tucked inside. There’s a zipper and everything. Halfway through your meal, you happen to look down. The wallet is now on top of your bag. There’s something very wrong with this picture. Your heart starts beating a little faster as you slowly open the wallet. Driver’s license, check. Insurance card, check. Credit card? Gone. Within minutes, thousands of dollars of camera equipment has been charged to the card.
There are plenty of high-tech options available to identity thieves, but the most straightforward approaches are still the most popular. Whether in the form of a mugging or a theft of personal property from a home, workplace, or other location, robbery is perhaps the most low-tech form of identity theft. Identity thieves who steal from your person or home are looking for the same things as the dumpster diver, such as credit cards, checkbooks, bank statements, etc.
Depending on the level of their sophistication, however, they may actually steal those items, as during a mugging or pocket picking, or they may leave them and steal the relevant information – numbers, dates of expiration – in order to delay your discovery of the theft. After all, if you find your credit card missing, you will call and cancel the card. But if your card is still in your wallet, you won’t know you have been a victim until you receive your credit card bill.
This kind of theft can be premeditated or a crime of opportunity. Unfortunately for you, some of the most likely suspects are the people you know. Co-workers, relatives, acquaintances – how easy is it for them to lift something out of your wallet or sneak a couple of checks from your desk?