Preventing Identity Theft

It is such a sad fact of life today that we cannot trust anyone anymore. Unless identity theft has happened to you or someone you know, it is quite common for people to think it will not happen to them.

Unfortunately unless you start to protect your personal information and privacy, anything can happen. Often consumers believe that identity theft is carried out only by top master criminals who gained access to banking computer files by an experienced hacker. No, a lot of information thieving is secured by local criminals and can even be someone you know well.

There are quite a few things you can do to start protecting your personal information. Invest in a good shredder; the type that cross shreds are well worth the extra money against the strip style. Destroy anything that contains your details before it throwing away, even junk mail that shows your name and address.

The Internet is notorious for identity theft; thieves regularly forward emails to unsuspecting consumers. Copying a bank or financial logo as a disguise, they will email thousands of people at one time. They work on the premise that a high percentage of those sent will be received by people who do in fact have an account with the corresponding email. This is known as “phishing.” Usually the message is something along the lines of a security breach on your account and you are advised to log in.

If you should receive one of these emails, delete it. Some banks request that you forward phishing emails to them. If you have any doubt that the email may have been genuine, then go directly to your official bank online site and check your details there.

Other requests for your details may arrive in the form of lottery wins or inheritance claims; do not give your details to anyone.

There are many methods that criminals can use to in order to compile information about you. The phone rings, you answer, the caller said it was your credit card company or even the phone company. Then the caller starts to ask if he can identify your account; he requests your full name, birth date, simple questions that consumers are giving out without a second thought. If any company calls you, do not give out personal information of any kind. You may be offered a phone number you can call back on, but do not use it. Check the company’s number yourself.

It is a wise decision to subscribe to one of the credit report agencies and regularly monitor your credit file to ensure that there has not been any activity against your identity.

When you are online, it makes good sense to protect yourself; ensure that you use different passwords for all log-in accounts you have. Open a new email address using a non-description name, one that you can operate for general use. If you are shopping check for the https://’ and the golden padlock. If buying from sites such as eBay, use PayPal for security.

And finally, if you are thinking of updating your computer, do not throw away your old hard drive without taking professional advice on how to clear all the data that is stored there.