5 Surprisingly Easy Ways Your Identity Could Be Stolen

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Data Leaks

In the modern world, though, you don't have to actually be the person who loses your information, do you? We live in a wonderful world of technological convenience, but that world means that countless other companies now act as custodians of your personally-identifiable information, and those people can lose it for you -- and they often do. From credit card companies like Heartland to stores like Target and Home Depot, your information is being hemorrhaged at a terrifying rate. But don't think you can protect yourself by avoiding credit cards and online shopping. Our list of the worst data breaches in history includes government databases of voters in both the United States and in Mexico. So unless you're ready to renounce your citizenship and go live in a cave, there's not a lot you can do to prevent this.

 

There is a hierarchy to this information, however. The big worry is if you hear that social security numbers have been lost, like in the Anthem leak. That's the gold key that lets people do just about anything in your name. Time has a great breakdown of what types of data are the most sensitive, starting with your SSN, then moving down through your online passwords (change them quickly) your credit card number (it's pretty easy to reverse fraudulent charges nowadays), and finally, the rest of your personal information. The big danger from your other personal information, unfortunately, is that identity-stealing brigands can take the info that they do have and call financial institutions to get more, just like Abraham Abdallah did when he stole bank information for more than half of the Forbes 400.

Did you know...

  • Once you've handled all your money, you should probably wash your hands. Money is some of the dirtiest things that we own. In fact, it's been found to be dirtier than a household toilet! During flu season, the virus can live on a bill for up to 17 days. That's just plain disgusting!
  • The most expensive hotel room in the world (the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland) costs $83,200 a night. That's $58 per minute for a stay! Good thing it has 12 bedrooms, 12 baths, a wraparound terrace, a Steinway piano, and an assigned private staff (including a chef)!
  • Have you ever wondered who prints the most money? That would be Hasbro, as in the makers of Monopoly. Hasbro prints more Monopoly money in a given year than there is money in the entire world. Each set of the game comes with $20,580. Bet you didn’t know you had that much money lying around the house!
  • It's an understatement to say that the odds when playing the lottery are not in your favor. You are statistically three times more likely to die in a car accident while driving 10 miles to buy a lottery ticket than you are to actually win. Even more astounding, over half the tickets in an average lottery draw are bought by only 5% of the participants.
  • There are over 1.6 million automated teller machines around the world. And that really does mean the entire world. There are even two ATMs on Antarctica at McMurdo Station operated by Wells Fargo. Friday is the most popular day that ATMs are used worldwide, and the average withdrawal is around $80.