Identity theft is a major problem. In a matter of minutes an identity thief can bring chaos to your financial and personal life. It can take many hours of personal time trying to sort out the logistics and repair the damage. Sometimes, it is even years before things are settled. There are a great number of ways that identity thieves can get your information.
It is important to know what the risks are and if you need to make changes or perhaps even purchase protection. Measuring your identity theft risk is a practical approach to identity protection. In today’s society, everyone needs to be aware of the risks and manage them.
Fraud begins with the perpetrator putting together the pieces of your personal information until there is enough to recreate your life or finances for fraudulent activities. Sadly, sometimes people make it all too easy to do just because they have never been educated about how to assess their identity theft risk.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a good place to get you thinking about how to monitor your activities and where the risk are hidden.
Some of the questions are about Internet fraud. Advertisements that appear on your screen are not there by accident. They pick up on your searches, your emails and the pages you view and customize those ads. Emails are not ever private. People can learn a lot about your habits, lifestyle and risks, just by your internet searches, emails and chats. These are all captured on servers. They are there for the taking and always have been. Never consider those communications private. How often do you check for spyware? How often do you change your passwords?
Something pieces of paper work should be locked up. Your passport, your birth certificate, your marriage license, your social security card, your insurance papers are all good examples of items that should only be carried when needed for a specified occasion. Personal identification should not be carried in a purse. If the purse is stolen they may get money and make up, but you don’t want them to get id and credit cards. These are the kinds of things that you learn as you are measuring your risk of identity theft.
Most people find that there are several very simple changes that can be made to help prevent fraud and theft. It would be naive to believe that even if you do everything right, someone may slip on and steal your identity. It is important to be vigilant and check your credit reports, secure your electronic devices and balances your bank account. Thousands of dollars can be taken one penny at a time.
Assessing the risk and doing what you can should alleviate the stress of being overly concerned. It is all about creating good habits to protect yourself from fraud.