Dumpster Diving Identity Theft - the Value of Your Trash

For many of us, there is one time of the month that we all loath - that moment that calls for us to pay the bills.  After going through the task of just who gets how much of our money, many of us simply discard the bills in an irresponsible manner, feeling that they have no purpose now that the balance has been paid.  This is one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make, one that is likely to make you an unfortunate victim of identity theft.

The truth is that those very documents you despise often contain critical details, personal information that consists of your name, address, credit card and bank account numbers.  After throwing the paperwork in your trash bin, this sensitive information waits to be collected by a city garbage truck.

Your Trash is an Identity Thief's Treasure

So what's the problem?  No one will stoop as low as sifting through your trash in search of meaningless bills that you already paid, right?  Think again!  Pride and morals should never be tied to an identity thief.  If one of these desperate criminals happens to snatch up an entire bag of trash that contains all of the bills you just paid, they have literally struck the identity theft lottery.  The information you took for granted will give them all the ammunition needed to open up new credit cards in your name and possibly access funds in your bank account.

Since many individuals will throw away those nagging credit card approval letters, it is very easy for a dumpster diver to respond to them, provide the company with a new address and instantly receive credit in your name.  If your credit is decent, a thief will be instantly approved and quickly receive a card in the mail.  From there, they are liable to rack up thousands of dollars in debt, balances that you may not be aware of for months.

A public dumpster or a personal trash bin can be an absolute gold mine for the aspiring identity thief.  Many times they may stumble upon important documents carelessly discarded by hospitals, accounting firms and profitable corporations.  When armed with this information, a criminal is capable of starting a new life of their own while bleeding their victims dry of funds.

Dumpster diving has proved so beneficial, that some identity thieves have formulated organized crime rings to carry out the act.  It takes the authorities that much longer to pinpoint the suspected perpetrators when these crimes are committed in filthy dumpsters and residential trash bins.  While it is very clear that this isn't the most sophisticated or glamorous type of identity theft, those facts do nothing to reduce the damage suffered by the victims. 

How to Protect Yourself From Dumpster Diving

•                     -Never discard documents containing information such as a Social Security number, driver's license number, or bank account number into a public trash bin.

•                     -Always shred important documents you choose to discard as opposed to crumbling the paper and throwing them in the trash.

•                     -Thoroughly cut up all old credit and debit cards so that the information is not legible and make sure all of confidential information gets disposed properly by using a trusted security shredding company. 

Dumpster diving is fairly easy to prevent.  It basically consists of taking the extra steps to make sure your personal information is properly disposed.  A little tedious work from the start can save you from the expensive headache related to identity theft. 

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Fraud causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage each year and affects just as many people.

Credit card fraud is the most common type of fraud to occur each year and cost its victims up to $500 million dollars in damages each year. Despite the frequent occurrence of this type of fraud, millions of credit card users are still unaware of how to protect themselves against this type of thievery.

No one is completely safe from being defrauded. But, by learning how to protect against fraud, you will be better equipped to prevent yourself from falling into a scam that could cost you everything. Taking the time to protect yourself can help to keep you safe.