Social Security number

18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen

Most people have already been victims of the most basic forms of identity theft — having fraudulent charges on your credit card. Those even less lucky have been victimized in more aggressive ways, with criminals obtaining medical care, working, and flying in our names.

Unwinding that mess can take years and thousands of dollars. The effect is exacerbated by the fact that the crime doesn’t generally stop with the one person who stole your information. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other data gets packaged and sold on the underground Internet so that different people all over the world could be impersonating you at the same time.

“It’s a pain. It does cause a lot of stress,” said Lindsay Bartsh, of San Rafael, California, who said that straightening out a web of fraudulent medical bills, flights, job applications, and credit applications took every minute of her free time for a year.

How does it happen? Here’s a look at both the most common ways thieves steal our data, as well as some of the newest ploys to watch out for.

1. Mail Theft

Bartsh believes this time-honored tactic is how her personal information got out into the criminal underworld. An expected W-2 tax form never arrived. Assuming it was stolen, it would have given thieves a wealth of information, such as Social Security number and workplace.

2. Database Hacks

When a large corporation gets hacked, the effect can be widespread. When the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management was breached, some 22 million people had their personal information exposed. (I was one of the many who received a warning about this, because I had a writing contract with a government agency.)

3. Malicious Software

If you have a virus on your computer, you may suffer more than a slowdown or a system crash. Some malicious programs that spread as viruses record every keystroke you type, allowing thieves to find out your online banking username and password. These programs can infect your mobile phone as well as your computer.

4. Search Engine Poisoning

This is a sneaky way of tricking people into giving up their own personal data, or getting malicious software onto a person’s computer. The criminals create a fake website similar to a real one, or that could plausibly be a real one.

One tactic is for you to click through to the fake site and try to buy a product, entering your credit card or debit card number. Another way they try to get you is for you to unknowingly download information-stealing software onto your computer.

Where does the search engine part come in? These criminals manipulate Google and other search engines’ algorithms to get their phony sites ranked high in search listings, leading users to believe they must be legit. Fortunately, Google has made progress in preventing this in recent years, but it still happens.

5. Phishing

Phishing is a term that broadly means “fishing” for personal information through a variety of common social interactions — so-called “social engineering.” The most common phishing attack happens when you get an email that looks like it came from your bank or another legitimate company. It may come with an alarming subject line, such as “overdraft warning” or “your order has shipped.” When you click a link in the email, you may see a login screen identical to your normal login, which will trick you into entering your username and password. You could also be asked for more identifying details, such as Social Security number and account number.

Fortunately, banks have put some countermeasures into place to fight phishing. You can also protect yourself by not responding directly to incoming messages. If you get an email that looks like it’s from your bank, type your bank address into your browser instead of clicking the link, sign in, and check your account’s message center. Or just call your bank’s customer service number.

6. Phone Attacks

The Internal Revenue Service has been warning for several years that scammers are calling people claiming to be the…

10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private

In a world where so many of us share everything from the birth of a child to our weight loss goals on social media, privacy might seem like a moot point. But the reality is, growing identity theft threats make safeguarding personal details more important than ever.

The good news is, there are simple things you can do to keep yourself safe. It is just about paying attention to where your personal information could leak out, and plugging the holes. (See also: Your Credit Card May Be Sharing Your Private Info)

1. Destroy Unneeded Paper Documents

Any junk mail that contains a credit offer. Old documents with your signature, Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying details. Old tax returns. Convenience checks from credit cards. These are some of the most sensitive items that you should never dispose of without shredding. Buy a crosscut shredder or take your documents to a business shredder to destroy, or burn the paper in your fireplace.

2. Safeguard Your Mail

The U.S. Post Office recommends that you pick up your mail promptly after delivery and always put the mail on hold if you go out of town. Some folks take it a step further by investing in a locking mailbox or renting a post office box away from their residence. Remember to protect outgoing mail as well, by dropping it into a secure mailbox or handing it to the carrier, instead of leaving it out for the carrier to pick up.

3. Be Wary of Online Forms

You may be asked for your name, email address, home address, phone number, date of birth, and other personal information many times a day on the Internet. And often, it’s legitimate to share that information — for instance, when signing up for a food delivery service. But when asked for personal details, ask yourself who’s behind the request — a reputable brand, or a company you’ve never heard of? Is the sign-up really necessary?

4. Don’t Overshare on Social Media

First of all, know who you’re sharing with when you post something on social media. On Facebook, you can choose to share a post with the public, with all your friends, or only a subgroup of friends. Personally, I don’t know all the people I’ve accepted friend requests from very well. So most of the things I post — especially potentially compromising information such as an upcoming surgery or vacation — are only shared with a select group of close friends and relatives.

Second, there are some things you don’t want to share with anyone — not even relatives. Hundreds of thousands of people each year have their IDs stolen…

16 Worst Resume Mistakes

resume mistakes
resume mistakes

Whether you are a college student, a recent graduate or a job seeker, you must have, at least once in your lifetime, written a resume. Resume writing is tricky for everyone. It is not an easy task even for the experienced writers. A resume has to be perfect because it marks the starting point of one’s professional career. However, there are several common mistakes that people make while writing a resume.

Here are 17 common resume mistakes that you must avoid making 2017 the year of your employment.

Try to make your resume short

Okay, you have achieved a lot starting from highschool to college graduation. You want to show everything to your recruiter and you expect them to read every word of it. You are gravely wrong.

Recruiters are saying that they want resumes that are just one page long. An average manager will not spend even a minute looking at your resume. Be sure that you keep the most relevant information on the top and hold it to one page.

Don’t overuse words

While writing a resume, people tend to use overused words and repeat the same words again and again. This makes your resume unattractive and annoying. At times, only vague information is provided.

Your resume should be creative and attractive enough to attract the recruiter’s attention. Make sure you use words and phrases that are straight to the point.

Make your resume productive in grammar

You should never use poor English or misuse words, use wrong spellings and punctuations. Such mistakes are not overlooked and they make your resume look bad. Just imagine a resume with several red marks. If you aren’t confident with your written skills, have a good editor go through your document.

Don’t fake yourself

Never give wrong information about yourself or your accomplishments. Remember, honesty is the best policy. Some details are too perfect to be right.

There may be situations in your career wherein you have to prove a wrong detail you provided in your resume. Don’t take chances. Be honest about yourself.

Go with the proper format

One of the most important things many people ignore is the format of any official paper. The format and appearance of a resume also matter a lot. Your resume should be cross-platform and compatible with all computers.

That is why most people prefer the PDF format for their resumes. PDF format appears the same on all computers. Also, make sure that you don’t use many different fonts, colors or graphs. Keep it neat and clean so that it is easy to read.

The objective statement

If you know what to include, then go ahead. This works if in case you are changing fields as this acts as a summary of your resume. If you…