The fastest-growing type of white-collar crime is property theft. This situation occurs when a criminal steals your identity and uses it to transfer the title of your property into their name. With possession of your title, they can borrow against your home and cause significant damage. It’s important to know how a criminal might steal your identity in order to protect it. Here are some common ways that a criminal might try to commit title theft.
The oldest way of stealing personal information is still effective for many criminals. This involves simply walking up to a mailbox and stealing pieces of mail. Nearly any piece of mail that someone might receive includes a level of personal information. While almost all of the mail includes a full name and address, other mail might even include more personal information, such as a social security number. This gives a criminal all they need to steal your identity. Unless your mailbox is locked, the only way you can prevent this is by removing your mail shortly after it’s been delivered. If you mail anything to others, you should take it to the post office as it will still include your full name and address.
A common way that criminals attempt to steal personal information is by installing malware. They get you to download this malware by disguising it online. When you download the file, they gain access to your computer and your personal information. This information might include your name, phone number, address, social security number, bank information, and passwords. You can prevent this from happening by installing an antivirus program. These programs will prevent the malware from downloading so that your information doesn’t fall into the hands of someone that you don’t want to have possession of it.
Phishing is another common way that criminals attempt to access your information. This is the only way that the criminal comes into contact with you. There are two primary ways that this happens. The first is that a person will call you and claim to be with the IRS or police. They’ll claim that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you need to provide verification information. These agencies won’t call you but will send mail so these calls are a red flag. They might also send emails claiming to be someone they aren’t and asking for your personal information.
There are three primary ways that criminals will attempt to get your personal information and commit title theft. Knowing these risks will allow you to avoid them and prevent a potentially disastrous situation.