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If I gave someone my address online, what can they do with it …
Worst case, they could show up at your house with ill intent. The biggest reason to conceal your personal info online (at least imho) is because nobody really cares about your privacy as much as you do. Someone who has your address may, even without malicious intent, share your address with someone else for whatever reason. Then that person shares it, and in a short time you’ve no idea how many people know your address. I know a lot of streamers get pizzas delivered to their house in their name because their address was leaked – or worse yet, likelihood that an individual is evil enough to show up at a stranger’s house for no reason other than the fact that they have their address is slim, but it still smart to CYOA.
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Can Your Identity Be Stolen With Only a Name and Address?
Nov. 27, 2017
It might sound like an urban legend designed to scare you, but still you have to ask the question: “Can my identity be stolen with only my name and address? ”
“The short answer is no, ” says Eva Casey Velasquez, president/CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “However, your name and address could be used as a gateway to steal your identity. ”
In this article, learn four ways that gate might be opened.
How your name and address can lead to identity theft
Identity thieves are always on the lookout for personally identifiable information, or PII, that they can use to start piecing together a person’s financial world. This can include details like Social Security number, birthdate, or name and address.
Depending on what identity thieves find, they can do things like open new credit accounts, steal from existing accounts or commit other crimes using a fake identity.
An identity thief may try and use your name and address in several different scenarios. Here are four of them.
1. Using a database to find more information
A thief could plug your name and address into a publicly searchable database to see what other pieces of information can be found.
One website charges as little as a dollar for reports that include someone’s phone numbers, marriage and divorce records, education records, employment history, and more.
These pieces of PII could potentially be used to open new financial accounts. It’s important to protect yourself against this type of identity theft. Check your credit report regularly to look for new accounts you don’t recognize, and scan your billing statements line by line to look for suspicious charges.
2. Using ‘name’ and ‘address’ as security answers
When you call a customer service number about your account, often the first question they’ll ask is “Who am I speaking with? ” They may also ask you to verify your address or another question to verify your identity.
It’s part courtesy, part security to see if it’s really you calling.
If a thief has these answers, he may be able to slip through and get more details about your financial accounts. Checking your credit report for suspicious activity may help you if a thief has accessed your accounts or opened new ones.
3. Redirecting your mail
There are ways to commit identity theft offline.
With a name and address, a thief can change your address via U. S. Postal Service and redirect mail to their address of choice, Velasquez says. With access to your financial mail, the thief may intercept bank statements and credit card offers or bills, then order new checks and credit cards.
This is a form of mail theft.
Some good news: The postal service has a few security steps in place to trip up this type of fraud. You can also help thwart this type of theft by opting in to paperless billing for all your financial accounts, and opting out of unsolicited credit card offers. If a thief tries to reroute your mail, there might not be much to find.
4. Sending fake offers via mail
Another attempt at theft offline includes “phishing, ” which can be done via good old-fashioned snail mail. That’s when a fake entity sends you mail cleverly disguised as a legitimate institution requesting money or financial information.
These pieces of mail may include fake bills, change-in-service notifications or lottery-win notices.
If you get a piece of unsolicited mail that looks suspicious, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
In nearly any identity-theft scenario, a thief must have more than your name and address to commit fraud. So these details could be a gateway into your financial world, but it’s not your last line of defense.
A stranger asks for my delivery address, how much …
In the UK, Belgium and Holland, most corner shops are part of one or more logistics networks, and hence drop-off points for senders; with many also pickup points. Often (via say or etc) you can choose them as destination from webshops. These same networks should fit in the chain that gets the package to you.
It’s a very reasonable idea to tell the sender: You’ll be out at work (though I use my work address for such, which has a receptionist! ) so would hate to miss the gift. So go to the cornershop where they know you by sight or name, ask if you can get it delivered in your name [“A. E. Neumann, C/O The Corner Shop, 12 High Street, Mummerset”] there. This doesn’t unload the risk onto them, as its your name and their location so not relevant to any bank account or so.
But consider they might find your real address even then. g., in the UK, I was surprised when googling my name for free it clearly hints my longterm partners (several addresses shared over time; precise up to city quarter if not paying for the data; a mixture of Electoral roll data before opting out, and other sources).
I wouldn’t judge this approach risky; in the real world there’s thousands of instances where your details have been taken at a higher risk. I once got one UK parking fine (escalated over months of non-paying) while not owning a car, having no driving license, nor living (nor having lived) in the country; somebody had declared to the parking attendant that it was my car, and passed my details (collected from a B&B guest registration years before, in another country, because very very specifically misspelled)! Of course in ID-card-less UK there’s no trace of the original declarant (I bet the then-owner), and I think no legal way for an individual like me to find the car owner’s info from their numberplate. To get the bailiffs off eventually took months, hours of paperwork, various registered letters, and a statement from the DVLA (the UK “DMV”) that I wasn’t the owner.