Beverly Butler: Hi! I am Beverly with Wells Fargo & Company. Today, we are learning about how identity theft occurs. Identity theft is the stealing of another person's identity to commit fraud or other crimes. First, we need to recognize that identity theft is a big problem. You need to understand how it occurs so that you can guard against it happening to you. There is a lot to learn about how to protect yourself financially whether you are on the phone, on the web, at the store or wherever your day may take you. There are too many ways that dishonest people or a few businesses may try to take your hard-earned money away. Identity theft occurs through high-tech and low-tech techniques. While thieves steal personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs from stealing wallets or purses, intercepting or rerouting mail, rummaging through garbage and other means. One of the most common ways that identity thieves get your personal information is by stealing mail from your mail box, or by taking your garbage and going through your old mail.
Another common problem is email; you should not send personal information such as account numbers, credit card numbers, or pins via email. Even more importantly, you should protect your Social Security number on any documents that are mailed or emailed. Social networking is contributing to a new era of identity theft and fraud. Younger adult suffer greater exposure and fraud victimization through use of social networking. Small business owner suffer identity theft at one-and-a-half times the rate of others. This is because small office or home office business owners often use personal accounts for business transactions. Because of the higher volume of transactions, the chance of identity theft increases.