25 ways that thieves will steal your information
1. Lucky letter
The lucky letter is one tactic used by would-be pilferers to rob you of your hard-earned cash. Essentially, the lucky letter is an email or note mailed to you that suggests you’ve won something of extreme value. Maybe it’s a car. Maybe it’s a new computer.
Whatever it is, the thing you supposedly won is only a click away. To get it, you must navigate through the suggested link, enter any requisite info, and, as they will generously tell you, wait for the package. The thing is, they’ll ask you for the info they can then use to bilk you of all your money. Never give away your social security or banking info to such suspect claims.
2. Glued phone
Gluing things together has been a common tactic for pranksters around the world. One such prank is to glue a quarter to the ground and watch people struggle to pick it up. Another tactic that is far more incendiary is to glue a phone to the ground.
The tactic here is one of distraction. When you’re trying to pry the phone from the ground, would-be thieves can grab your purse or handbag. People have reported thefts from such strategies. If you see a phone on the ground, then, you shouldn’t stop for too long to try and pick it up. Or, if you do, do so safely.
3. Service staff
Here is a problem that you wouldn’t really expect. Service staff could actually be fakes — people disguised such that they can gain entry to your hotel or bedroom. When they do, they can then rifle through your belongings and take what they would like. You would be worse off because of it.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen, the best thing you can do is to make sure your most cherished valuables are well-hidden. Or, better yet, you could ensure that no such valuables remain unattended. This would likely be the best protection against this particular method of thievery.
4. Broken camera
Here, you can get bamboozled into something undesirable. The strategy is to get you to hold a camera to take a picture of the person. Then, as you try to take the photo, you realize that the camera is broken. When you try to return it, however, you run into some problems.
When the owner is returned the camera, they start to look angry. They then blame you for having broke the camera and try to demand that you pay for it. While most of these situations you can easily shrug off, some might be more difficult or unsafe. We recommend you just be selective in who you take a photo for.
5. Runaway taxi
Taxis aren’t as much of a necessity as they used to be. But even as their market gets split between ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, this problem continues to develop. The problem her is that the driver takes what does not belong to them.
In some instances, these people will pretend to help you take your luggage to your rooms or destination. What they do next is take all of your belongings and run. Such a tactic is more likely to work if you’re a tourist to the area and overwhelmed by the travel. Our recommendation: be mindful of who you let help you.
6. Fake ticket
Fake tickets are an especially poignant concern for concert goers. Here, in a desperate attempt to get a last minute ticket or better spot in the venue, you will shell out some extra cash to a scalper offering salvation. A new ticket, he says, that will get you to the first few rows.
Unfortunately, many of these tickets are actually just fakes. And the result is that you’ve just given your hard-earned cashed to someone who most definitely did not deserve it. And what’s worse is that you are now stuck with no ticket or your old ticket.
7. Fake cop
This is a particular virulent fraud. Here, a thief will impersonate a police officer, attempting you into giving up extremely valuable information about yourself or your finances. Since the person is a police officer, you may feel inclined or obligated to assist them.
Another strategy they will implement is to check your wallet and, while browsing through, take out money without you even realizing. They can also, if you let them, enter your house and take your belongings. While both of these tactics are risky for the impersonating police officer, they are possible outcomes. We recommend you ask for credentials.
8. Sleight of hand
Here, burglars will do something to distract you and then use the distraction to steal your things. One of the most common ways for them to do this is to spill something on you or trip in front of you. Once, they have your attention, the thievery can begin.
Often times, these people are well equipped with the skills to discreetly steal. They could, for instance, take your watch while you’re looking at the spill or trying to help the tripped person. Whatever it is, to avoid this tactic you should be on your lookout at all times.
9. Holding the baby
If a stranger ever asks you to hold their baby, you should turn around and run immediately. There is not a distance far enough to get you safe from this tactic. Ultimately, the tactic works to get you to hold the baby (either by asking or by making it seem the baby might fall). And then, once you’re holding it, they implement the theft.
Once you hand back the baby, you might realize that you’re a little lighter. This might other be from the person who dropped the baby, or their partner you didn’t realize was walking closely behind you. Either way, you have been lifted of some precious items. The only recourse her is to be more observant.
10. Credit card fakes
Another way that people will steal your belongings is to manufacture a fake reader for ATMs. Here, you slide the card into the reader, log in, and go about your business. Little did you know, however, that this particular ATM had an illegal attachment.
This attachment has been plagued with code reading software that the thief can use to take your credit card information. Now, after having finished at the bank, the thief can access and use your info. This is a problem. To deal with this possibility, you should be sure that the ATM you’re using is safe and free of such machinery.
11. Unsecure websites.
Secure websites are essential for any online transaction that you would like to do. If the websites are not secure, any of the info you enter might be accessible by third-party viewers. If this is the case, your info can then be used by these people to purchase new credit cards or loans.
When loans are made in your name, the problems become bountiful. You can accrue debt, lose credit, and other such problems. The best way to protect against this form of stealing is to ensure that there’s either a lock picture or “https” at the beginning of the URL. If there isn’t, don’t give them your info.
Hacking is one of the strategies employed by the more tech-savvy thief. Here, the pilfering villain will find a way to access your information directly from your computer or smartphone. With this, the only real protection is to implement fraud-reduction procedures as outlined by your bank.
While these tactics aren’t the most common, they are possible. And to protect against these, your best strategy is to make sure that passwords are well-protected, secure, and strong. Other than that, you’ll just have to be on the lookout for aberrancies on your bank statement.
13. Shoulder surfing
Shoulder surfing is the name given to those who would peer over your shoulder to try and gain your credit card or ATM information. Here, the onlooker will try to glean or photograph your info as you go about your otherwise regular spending.
A few weeks go by, however, and you soon realize that all your savings have been liquified and your well into the red in debt. Such tactics are best protected against through caution when using your cards. Maybe hold your hand over the card’s numbers, or otherwise obscure possible vantage points. Either way should help to lower the amount of damage done.
14. Fraud reports
Fraudulent credit reports can be extremely dangerous. Here, you will get a phone call or email from someone purporting to be a member of your bank. They will solicit you for information on your bank account or identity. Unwittingly, you will submit to them this information and then suffer the consequences.
The way to deal with these fraudulent reports is to be extraordinarily cautious with whom you decide to give your information. If you know that the person online or via email is actually from your institution and reliable, go ahead and trust them. If they cannot provide good evidence that they work for the company, you should hang up immediately.
15. Dumpster diving
This is one of the more old school tactics of stealing your info. The way it works is that the thief will sift through your garbage, trying to find themselves discarded bank statements or other financial documents. The result is that they can gain valuable information that they can then use to steal your money.
To protect yourself against those who would sift through your garbage for information, you could implement a shredder. With this, you would ensure that those who do gain valuable information don’t obtain it in any decipherable form. Because of this, you will remain protected.
16. Mailbox threat
Sometimes, thieves will cut the middle man of distractiion or wit by literally just stealing your mail. The hopes here are that the mail will contain more than just discounts to REI and new offers for credit cards. The hope is that the mailbox will hold valuable personal information.
The only real way to protect against this type of stealing is to set up home security systems. With these, it doesn’t matter if your stuff is stolen or not. If somebody ends up trying to steal from your mailbox, you will have the thief captured on camera. Because of this, you’d be more likely to catch them if they did in fact steal anything.
17. Corporate breaches
Corporations, rather than flat-out thieves, are sometimes those to blame. Here, companies will have loopholes or flaws in the code that protects their user data. Sometimes, this code can fail or get hacked. The result is the theft of thousands of peoples’ of data.
The only real protection here is to put your data into a company that will not compromise your data. While determining the safety of different companies isn’t exactly easy, it is worth trying to ascertain. These leaks can be massively detrimental, so it’s best that you exercise caution.
18. Stealing a credit report
Some people will go the extra mile when they defraud you. Sometimes, this entails stealing your credit report. To get your credit report, these thieves will often pose as your employer. Sometimes this is all it takes to get them to hand over the report.
The only thing you can really do here is hope that your employer doesn’t get bamboozled. And, if they do, that your bank has a strong safetynet against such fraud. And, if all else fails, you should keep a close pair of eyes on your accounts so that you can detect any changes once they come up.
19. Flash drive
If you find a flash drive on the ground, do yourself a favor and never use it. Certain flash drives have been encrypted with software that can infiltrate the drive it’s plugged into and send that information to another computer.
When the other computer has this information, they can use it to steal your identity or extort you. Given that these things are extraordinarily undesirable, you should just never put one of these lucky thumbdrives into your computer. You would do yourself and the world a favor by instead throwing the thing away.
Another way for these thieves to gain access to your privileged information is to install malware on one of your regularly used devices. This malware is built to read your information such that the thief can then transcribe it later. And, with your data in hand, stealing you money or identity becomes something of a cake walk.
The only way to really avoid this is to revert into a sort of luddism. Just kidding. Here, you can keep your computers and smartphone technology up-to-date such that they can detect when your tech does have malware problems. Then, when the thief tries to attack, you will be prepared.
21. Changing your address
Some of the clever ways in which these thieves pilfer your information is admirably crafty. In this case, they change your address such that your mail arrives elsewhere. Then, as we’re sure you could have guessed, critical information then gets delivered to the thief’s door.
The only way to really watch out for this type of trick is to make sure you get updates (or at least check regularly) on your personal info in the government. When you do this, you will know whether your address has been changed or not. You could also keep a keen eye on whether you’re actually receiving your mail. Either way would help.
22. Contact card readers
This is one of the scarier technologies we’ve thus far discussed. How it works is that the scammer can read your credit card information by merely sliding their reader across your purse or wallet. The result is that they pick up your info with little more than a bump in the grocery store.
Protecting against such encounters is difficult. We would say that the best defense here is just a good set of safety nets: when your bank notices abnormal spending, they should be ready to email or text you. Then, with that information in hand, you can cancel the transaction and take the next steps to secure your information.
23. Obstructed view
To break into houses, one of the most frequently sought after features is coverage. With houses, a backyard hidden by tall trees or fences provides coverage for those who would want to break in. This is often a reason that corner houses are targeted: they have more hidden spaces.
To avoid providing such shelter, you could make sure that parts of your backyard or elsewhere are always visible to neighbors and outside traffic. While the strategy will definitely cut down on privacy, it will make your home less viable for burglars. You can determine if the trade-off is worth it.
Casing is the term for prospective burglars checking out a property they’re interested in. They do this to get a grip on the details surrounding the property. This can include everything from your daily habits to neighborhood presence.
The best strategy to fight these tactics is to monitor suspicious activity in your neighborhood. While your house might not be the one that’s being cased, you could help to prevent the break-in of other prospective houses. Either way, monitoring the people who enter and leave your neighborhood can be a key step to avoiding a burglary.
25. Lock your doors
Another common tactic of the burglar is to check a property or vehicles for unlocked doors or windows. Such unlocked property is far easier to pilfer, and thus provides an alluring opportunity for the prospective thief.
The easiest way to prevent such break-ins is to actually check whether your properties are locked up. Alternatively, you could get bars to encase your windows. That way, you could leave them unlocked and open and not worry about potential break-ins. Either way, you should check to ensure your doors and windows are locked before you go about your day.