With “shoulder surfing” and “dumpster diving” among today's preferred methods of stealing identity, the age-old crime of pickpocketing is still rampant, and can claim an identity with a quick slip of the hand Pickpocketing, one of the world's oldest crimes, dates back to the Shakespearean age when it was considered punishable by death, according to Wikipedia. Defined as a form of larceny that involves stealing valuables from a person's pocket, pickpocketing is considered by many a skilled trade, perfected by magicians and criminals alike. Throughout centuries, the reason for the crime's popularity has been the same. “The appeal is its relative safety,” says Tom Harris, who writes for HowStuffWorks.com. “A skilled pickpocket can make off with just as much money as an armed robber, without much danger of confrontation or risk of being identified in a line-up.”
Cash used to be the main motivating factor for pickpockets. In recent years, pickpockets have become more interested in the documents tucked away behind the money — social security, credit and debit cards, the keys to stealing a person's identity. Harris explains that most pickpockets get away because the crime is so discreet; victims never realize what is happening until it is too late.
To minimize the risk of identity theft resulting from a pickpocket incident, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a set of steps for victims to follow (Source: www.ftc.gov):
- Financial Accounts: Close credit card and bank accounts immediately. Upon opening new accounts, place passwords on them. Avoid using a mother's maiden name, a birth date, the last four digits of a Social Security number, a phone number or a series of consecutive numbers when creating passwords.
- Social Security number: Call the toll-free fraud number of any of the three nationwide consumer credit-reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) and place an initial fraud alert on credit reports. A fraud alert can help stop someone from opening new credit accounts in a victim's name.
- Driver's License/Government-Issue ID: Contact the agency that issued the license or other identification document. Follow its procedures to cancel the document and to get a replacement. Ask the agency to flag the file so that no one else can obtain a license or other identification document in that name.
- Monitor for Signs that Information is Being Misused: Order copies of credit reports and review them for inquiries from unfamiliar companies and accounts. Check that information such as the Social Security number; addresses, name, initials and employers are correct. Continue to check the reports periodically, especially for the first year after the theft occurs to make sure new activity has not been logged.
- Report Fraudulent Activity Immediately: For steps to reporting unauthorized activity related to identity theft, visit:
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- The Hackett Security Team