People who commit identity theft make use of your private information for their own gain, or to sell it to others. Thieves can violate your privacy and make use of important information such as your date of birth, address, bank accounts, your credit card and in some cases, even your name.
Identity theft has become a regular occurrence with banks and other institutions uncovering large instances of identity theft seemingly every day. New laws are being formed to stop identity theft and people are becoming more cautious in order to prevent this crime.
Someone can steal your identity when you use a networking website on the internet. When you use your credit card to shop or when you throw what you think a useless piece of paper containing some personal information into the garbage your identity is under threat of being stolen. Online payment gateways can be easily hacked if criminals are able to get a hold of your passwords. Even conversations over the phone could expose you to this risk.
1. When you enter important information at an ATM kiosk, over the Internet and even while you are in the bank, make sure there is no one peeking at your information or that you are not overheard. Remember, it takes little to turn an innocent man into a criminal.
2. When you enter information about yourself anywhere, find out whether it is absolutely necessary to do so. Keep this in mind while dealing with forms and even conversations. Be especially careful about giving away information if you did not initiate the conversation.
3. Go through papers carefully before you throw them in the garbage bin. No piece of paper containing information about yourself, such as bank statements and credit card information and letters, should land up there. A shredder is a good investment for getting rid of any papers that may reveal your personal info.
4. After you have finished using the CD, DVD, hard drive or even a computer remove personal information you have entered before you let another use it. XP and other programs delete your data with ease once you give the command. Take care because people well versed in computers can easily access your information later.
5. Make sure that photo identity proof is also required to use your credit card. Inscribe ‘check ID’ onto the back of your card (next to your signature) to shield yourself.
6. Go through your bills, statement of accounts and expenses carefully; make an inventory if necessary. This ensures that irregular transactions immediately capture your attention and in case you do come across any such, convey the information immediately to your financial institution. This is to make sure you are not inconvenience din the future even if you have been already.
7. Take care of your own bills; no one else should deal with them. If you have someone else handle them you put yourself in a particularly vulnerable position.
8. Pay your bills on the Internet only through payment gateways that you know are absolutely safe. Don’t save your log in information on your computer and be the only person who knows your Internet logs, pin codes or account number.
9. Make sure your computer’s operating system is up-to-date and protected against all viruses. This includes Spy Wares, Trojans, phishing, and other forms of hacking your information by accomplished identity thieves.
10. Enroll in an identity insurance program. There are companies that have specialized in preventing and fixing cases of identity theft. For only a small fee you can receive guaranteed protection for you and your family.