If you fear identity theft then it is best to go to sites such as www.AnnualCreditReport.com. These sites offer Annual Credit Report Free statements to those that ask for them. However, even before one can go to these sites, it is best to identify and be aware as to how the thieves can get hold of personal information which can be misused later.
Some of the most common methods of retrieving personal information by thieves are the following :
They rummage through the rubbish in order to get personal information. This is also known as dumpster diving. They also get personal data using redundant IT equipment as well as redundant storage media. This is through different kinds of devices like PCs, tablets, USB memory sticks, PDAs, mobile phones and hard drives.
They also use the details which can be found in public offices such as those which are published in the electoral rolls or other official registers.
These thieves may resort to stealing of identity cards, credit cards, bank cards, authentication tokens, passports and other such documents by either pickpocketing or robbing the mail or housebreaking.
They also skim of information which is on credit cards or bank cards and use the information to clone cards. They also use contactless credit card readers so as to receive the data wirelessly using RFID enabled passports.
They also discreetly watch and hear the victim divulging of personal information or may pose as bank or government officials and ask for personal information from unsuspecting victims. They could also use Trojans, malware and other viruses to steal information. They also hack into computers as well as databases and get information in bulk.
Sometimes they infiltrate organizations which have large quantities of personal data as well as they could also use brute force so that weak passwords can be attacked.