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3 New Identity Theft Scams You May Have Not Heard Of

You've always paid your bills on time. You work diligently to build up your credit rating so you can buy your own home someday. You're proud of the accomplishments you've made in working toward establishing your credit, and rightfully so. It doesn't go unnoticed. Banks and credit card companies are more than happy to give lines of credit to people like you. Unfortunately, there are people out there who are just tickled pink to take the good name you've made for yourself and use it to their advantage, and they get away with it all the time.

Here are a few new ways they are doing it, and how keep your information out of the slimy grasp of identity thieves.

Text Message Phishing

You're probably familiar with phishing email scams, but did you know they are starting to go after your cell phone, too? Similar to email phishing, text message scams will ask for a response from you. This method of identity theft is particularly effective because many businesses use text messaging alerts, and people have come to trust them. The text could read "(insert your bank name here) confirms your recent withdraw of $2,000. Call (phone number) immediately if you did not initiate this transaction." Calling the number will direct you to a seemingly legitimate automated system, asking for your personal information, likely your PIN, CVV code, SSN, email address, or other information.

Use extreme caution when responding to unsolicited messages asking for your personal information. If the text message claims it was sent from your bank, call your bank directly to confirm.

Stealing Newborn Identities

Children inherently have sparkly clean credit. It's for this reason that criminals are targeting the social security numbers issued to infants, and using them for years undetected. When they obtain this information about a small child, they are more likely to get away with it for years — likely until the child is nearing 18 years of age. Most parents just don't have a reason to check their children's credit reports. They pick up the information from hospital databases, day care center records, and from picking through trash or hacking into home computers.

Protect your children's identity by safeguarding their personal information. Don't give their full date of birth to anyone who doesn't absolutely need it, and check their credit report on a regular basis. Signing the whole family up for Lifelock will give peace of mind and prevent any funny business with your credit scores.

Smartphone Theft

Losing your purse or wallet is the worst. Immediately, you cancel your cards and try to remember everything that was in the bag you'll have to replace. Too often, the phone that serves as the key to your entire life is the last thing to be shut down. Criminals are now taking to posing as you by texting names like "Hubby," "Wife,"or "Mom," and asking for your personal information. By the time your husband or wife realizes that it wasn't you asking for your debit card PIN, your entire life savings is gone. Beyond texting, smartphones are incredibly easy to pull information out of. Clearing the history often and password protecting the sensitive applications will help keep the wrong people from getting to them. At the very least, it'll slow them down.

Keeping a watchful eye on your personal information, and remember that criminals will take any tidbit of information and run with it. Shredding your mail is a start, but it isn't enough anymore. Knowing the methods people are using will help you be more effective in protecting yourself and your family.