Guide 2 Identity Theft - How To Protect Yourself

   
Guide 2 Identity Theft

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Basic Information
 What is Identity Theft
 How It Happens
 Types of Identity Theft
 Warning Signs

Commercial Identity Theft
 Access Codes

Watch Out For
 Credit Card Risks
 Public Records
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 If Your Identity Is Stolen
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Guide 2 Identity Theft   >   Public Records

Identity Theft and Public Records


Identity and other information about you is held in a variety places, most of which you will not be able to control, and many of which are publicly available. An identity thief can find out a great deal about you, simply by accessing publicly available information.
  • Your telephone number and address can easily found, simply by using the telephone book. Additionally, reverse look-up services can be used to find out about you, starting from your phone number.

  • Public records will also contain a lot of information about your identity details. Births, deaths and marriages, motor vehicle records, military records, property ownership records, court records, company information, and a surprisingly wide range of other sources of information about you are accessible to a greater or lesser degree in most countries. Sometimes this information is available free, and sometimes on the payment of a fee.

  • Internet services can also be used to find out about people, and to assemble a collection of publicly available information on them. Again, reverse look-up information is becoming available from some such public records, for example from your car's registration details can be traced back to identify you as the owner.

  • General news reports and information that appears on the internet, from club newsletters to sports results and business news, may also tell an identity thief a great deal about you.

  • If a thief can also access information held by institutions such as credit reporting agencies, companies you do business with, education institutions, places you work, associations or clubs you belong to, a surprisingly detailed picture of you and your affairs can soon emerge.

  • Governments are usually very aware of private information security. But credit or loan applications, hire purchase applications, medical records, utility and other payment arrangements, school records, and many other such routine dealings you have, may expose your information in many different places. Each separate data gatherer will have different security arrangements, and some will be less sensitive about information security than government agencies.

  • Some companies, especially credit reporting and direct marketing companies, make a business out of collecting personal identity information. Criminals may be able to access your identity information indirectly through such sources, even going so far as becoming paid subscribers to credit reporting agencies behind the facade of a legitimate business.
Privacy laws in many countries have limited what identity information that organizations and people may collect and hold about you, and give you rights to know what their records contain. You should make yourself aware of your rights, and have the confidence to exercise them, especially if you become concerned that your information is being misused.

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