Despite all the high-tech innovations and advancements available to identity thieves, old-fashioned “dumpster diving” – literally digging through your trash – remains a popular method for stealing large amounts of your personal information.
Will thieves really go through your garbage?
Absolutely. Why? Because Americans receive over 4 million tons of junk mail each year1, and much of this mail – such as pre-approved credit cards, credit card bills, and bank statements – includes your personal information. Dumpster-diving identity thieves root through your trash because they know the documents you discard as garbage contain personal identity information that can be spun into gold when used in a variety of illegal manners.
How big of a threat is Dumpster Diving?
Identity theft remains one of the fastest-growing crimes in America2, and, based on the reports of identity theft victims, it was claimed that 88% of the information collected by thieves was obtained through dumpster diving.3
Information thieves can collect:
- Pre-approved credit card offers
- Street address
- Social Security number
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Bank account information
- Employment history
- Other personal information
What thieves can do with this information:
- Identity theft
- Employment-related fraud
- Loan fraud/payday loan fraud
- Bank fraud
- Benefits fraud
- Tax fraud
- Other identity fraud
Dumpster Diving Statistics:
- Americans receive over 4 million tons of junk mail each year.1
- Identity theft victims claim that 88% of the stolen information thieves obtained by dumpster diving.3
2 Social Security Administration. “Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number.” SSA Publication No.
05-10064. August 2009.
† Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.
† Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.