Thieves, like viruses, adapt and evolve. Where identity theft in the ’80s consisted of stealing the carbon copies of credit card presses or rubbing their card on a piece of paper like a chalk pressing of a gravestone, data theft today has become much more advanced, and, unfortunately, much more prolific. Here are some of the most-targeted groups and methods for identity theft.
Not sure if someone has stolen your identity? Read more about how you can tell if your personal information has been compromised here.
Using stolen identities for medical reasons is one of the biggest and fastest growing scams when it comes to data theft. Perhaps part of that is because medical costs are still so outrageously expensive and up until recently, many, many people didn’t have access to healthcare. Still, if you’re a thief, what better way to get the treatment you want/need than by not having to worry about paying for it? These thieves are not using stolen credit card information as much as personal information and using it to generate fake IDs.
Public Wi-Fi Hot Spots:
Any time you’re connected to a public wi-fi network you should be wary. Many thieves simply hang out at these spots, looking relatively benign, all the while monitoring the other computers on the network and waiting for a chance to catch some personal information. An example would be sitting at a coffee shop with your computer and buying a book on Amazon for your niece’s birthday–and now they have your credit card info and address, and potentially your password. These scams have been around for some time and people have gotten wise to shady hot spots. What’s new, however, is that many thieves are disguising their hot spots to look like reputable networks; so while you think you’re on the official Hilton network, you’re actually on a thieves’.
The Military Target:
A very unfortunate reality, military veterans are some of the most targeted consumers for identity theft. Perhaps thieves are targeting them for the additional discounts many of them receive. Or, as U.S. News suggests, they are targets because of their habits of providing personal information–as they were required to do for much of their service career. Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree targeting veterans and impersonating them for their benefits without the implicit risk of sacrifice is one of the more despicable scams out there.