The Scam: This isn’t really a scam so much as old-fashioned robbery, but identity theft experts say it’s still one of the top ways people become victims.
Avoid It By: In addition to the usual personal safety precautions like being aware of your surroundings and observing suspicious behavior, you can cut down on the risk that your data will be used fraudulently. Keep a copy of the customer service numbers of your credit and debit cards someplace accessible so you can alert issuers to freeze your accounts. If you have a smartphone, install an application that lets you erase it remotely, so a thief can’t access any information stored there. And never, ever keep your Social Security number in your wallet. “If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen with your Social Security number and your driver’s license, that is a jackpot for a criminal that wants to steal your ID,” Everett says.