Think you’re safe from identity theft if you simply tear up your credit card applications and throw them in the trash? Think again.
Rob Cockerham, who runs cockeyed.com (“the sixth-best website in the world”), receives a lot of credit card applications. Like me, Rob generally just tears them in half and throws them away. But he began to wonder: is this really enough?
He decided to make a test.
Instead of just ripping it in half, I tore it into small bits. Next, I arranged the bits on the countertop. It actually took a surprising amount of effort to get them all flipped and aligned properly. It was the kind of methodical effort a methamphetamine addict might enjoy. Then I grabbed some Scotch. And some tape.
Cockerham re-assembled the application, filled it out with contact information different from that to which the thing had been sent, and then mailed it back to the company.
Surely the application would be denied? Wrong. The bank issued a credit card and mailed it out. Moral of the story? Identity theft is easy. And the banks don’t care. Your best protection is to shred important documents.
[The Torn-Up Credit Card Application — Don't try this at home!]
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