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Most Unwanted Identity Theft Criminals

Here is a tongue-in-cheek list of the most unwanted identity thieves, describing the various techniques thieves use to steal your information. It’s clever and, unfortunately, very real.

Pauly the Pickpocket & Sally Sticky Fingers work as a team to lift wallets and mobile devices from pockets and purses, often in broad daylight. Sally creates a distraction by dropping a shopping bag, crying for help, or stopping suddenly in your path, and then Pauly bumps into you from behind and picks your pocket.

To avoid having your pocket picked, keep your wallet in your front pocket, or keep your purse closed and hold it in front of you. Thin out your wallet and skip the backpack. Lock your cell phone with a password. And consider investing in McAfee’s Lost Wallet Protection service.

Trojan Sea Biscuit is a two-faced liar who sneaks malicious files into emails and hides viruses in PDFs and other downloadable files. He’s the champion ringleader in the ultimate identity theft derby of phishers, hackers, botmasters, and keyloggers.

To avoid a Trojan infiltration, use comprehensive security software, and be sure it’s set to update automatically. If a popup window prompts you to update software, hit escape or shut down the program. Go directly to the manufacturer’s website for the update.

Tim “The Skim” McCash is known for installing skimming devices and tiny cameras that can read your card data and PIN code. He targets ATMs at banks, concerts, arenas, convenience stores, and gas stations with the goal of draining your account of cash or credit before you or your bank recognizes the fraud.

To avoid having your credit or debit card data skimmed, use the same, familiar ATM whenever possible, and beware of ATMs with devices covering the card slot. Look for external devices like mirrors, brochure holders, or light bars that may hide a camera. Always cover the keypad with your other hand as you enter your PIN. And check your bank and credit card statements online at least once a week.

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