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How do thieves steal your identity?

There are several different ways for an identity thief to steal your personal information and use it for their own criminal enterprise:

  • Skimming:

    • atmThe thief uses an electronic device or a “skimmer” that is designed to read the magnetic strip or what it is commonly referred to as a magstripe on your debit and/or credit card to gain your account information.
      • The information that is encoded on the magnetic strip is the account number, name, and expiration date.
      • Skimming can occur when you use your ATM card at the local ATM machine.
      • At the ATM machine, a skimming device is affixed over the original card slot and when you conduct an ATM transaction your information can be transmitted wirelessly to the thief.
      • The information the thieves collected can now be encode on a gift card they will use as a credit card.
  • Dumpster Diving:

    • The thief looks through your trash for bank and credit card statements and any other type of documents with your personal information on it.
  • Phishing:

    • The thief pretends to be a financial institution or a company and sends spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal and banking information.
  • Pretexting:

    • The thief obtains your personal information under false pretenses from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.
  • Data thieves:

    • The thief hacks into your financial institution, steals your personal/credit information and sells it to other thieves to use.
  • The old fashion way – stealing:

    • The thief steals your wallet, purse and mail. They even go as far as to bribe employees who have access to your personal information.


Carroll County Sheriff's Office • 100 North Court Street • Westminster, Maryland 21157
410.386.2900 or 1.888.302.8924

Equal Opportunity Employer

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is committed to recruiting initiatives that reflect a fair and impartial representation of minority groups and females among its employees and applicants in approximate proportion to the minority composition of the Carroll County community.