The fear of one day getting your identity stolen is a common one among many Americans, especially adults. Having your identity stolen could really mess up your credit score and your whole financial situation in general.

Now, you may be thinking of the different ways criminals obtain your identity. You may even be asking yourself “Can my identity be stolen with my name and address?” In today’s article, we’re going to be answering this question with an in-depth response.

The quick answer to this question is no. If it could be, we would have to someway revamp our whole mailing system and many other things. It would be way too easy for criminals to steal one’s identity if that were the case.

However, it is seen as a gateway to stealing someone’s identity. This is due to the fact that thieves are seeking out personally identifiable information. They then use this to puzzle in the rest of their identity to unlock the victim’s financial world.

Some of the crimes they can commit include opening up new credit cards, stealing from existing accounts, or committing other crimes while using your identity. The following are some examples of the crimes that can be committed using your name and address.

1. Online Databases

A thief may plug in your name and address into a certain database online to find more about you. There are multiple databases like these online and most are very cheap when it comes to turning over personal information. Information could include employment records, marriage history, education, sex, etc.

The personally identifiable information that the thief finds could be used to open new accounts in your name. In the end, always look at your credit report every now and again to make sure accounts that you aren’t aware aren’t being opened and used frequently.

This could really damage your credit. Also, make sure that you skim through the transactions of the accounts you are already using to make sure that there is no suspicious activity.

2. Guess Your Passwords

If a thief were able to call your credit card company and get a verification after using your name and address to verify the account, you could be in big trouble.

If he is able to get past the verification process, he may even be able to open up new accounts, mess with existing accounts, or just find out more about your finances.

3. Mail Theft

The thief could contact the United States Postal Service and change the postage address based on your name and address. By changing it, they could intercept bank statements or bills that could lead them further down the financial rabbit hole.

The good news is that the postal service is one step ahead, having security questions in place to combat this type of fraud. In the end, paperless billing would make the most sense to combat this type of fraud.

To answer the question “can my identity be stolen with my name and address,” it can’t be directly stolen with that type of information but it could be a gateway to a multitude of other crimes.

Your best bet is to prevent identity theft before it happens by closely monitoring for the use of your private data both online and offline. You can start by checking your email address to see if you’ve been a part of a data breach with any of the companies you do business with on a daily basis.