Preventing Identity Theft: How to Help Prevent Identity Theft – 10 Easy Ways
Every year, more and more people become victims of identity theft the world over. This particular crime has become even more extensive with all sorts of technology making each individual more accessible to the rest of the world.
In order to prevent id theft, a lot of commitment, caution, and foresight is required. Although government agencies have been very diligent about reminding people of the potential risks that are tied in with stolen identities, there are still a good number of cases cropping up every year.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, 15% of the 1.8 million complaints they received in 2011 were regarding ID theft. The methods vary from document-related thefts, such as stolen credit cards or social security IDs, to online hacking, and even credit card fraud. The unfortunate thing about it is that some of the victims did not even find out about the theft of their identity until way after the deed had been committed.
There’s no way of preventing identity fraud if you are not even aware it is happening. It is precisely this lack of urgency and complacency to check up on one’s financial identity that encourages identity thieves to defraud other people of what should have been rightfully theirs.
Then again, inasmuch as there are plenty of ways for identity theft to be committed, there are also plenty of ways to prevent identity theft from happening to you. Here are 10 tips to use to help you prevent identity fraud so you can be a little bit more secure from this crime.
- Keep all important documents secure
This should actually be common sense. You don’t leave important papers or ID cards, such as your Social Security, lying around some place easily accessible to other people. Birth certificates, driver’s license, or company IDs are just some of the items that can lead an identity thief to fraud heaven via your account. Therefore, these are the items that you must keep secure at all times. You definitely don’t want them to fall into the wrong hands.
- Be mindful of your credit card use
You don’t have to lose your credit card in order for you to be defrauded out of your identity. It has been discovered that a technology called the “keylogger” can easily be plugged into a computer system. This, then, copies all the information stored in a credit card. The dangerous part about this is that some restaurants have been found to have keyloggers. Sometimes, it is being done by one of the wait staff members. To prevent having this kind of stunt pulled on you, make sure that your card remains visible, even as they are making the charge to your account.
- Secure gadgets, passwords
Simply put, you should be ready to change your passwords regularly. The first step to having access to you is by access through your gadget. It is an extension of you, after all. The more attached you are to it, then it only follows that the more you should be careful about and with it.
- Limit information shared online
Alright, you just want your friends to know just how much of a grand time you’re having on your vacation. Or maybe, you just want to have hundreds of greetings on your birthday, thus sharing your date of birth. All these are well and good, but only to the extent that you do not compromise your identity. As with the very first tip above, keep all your ID documents secure – including the personal information you share online.
- Keep an open communication with your bank
Going out of town for a while? Good for you! Just make sure that you get in touch with your bank as well. That way, they can have the system flag any suspicious transactions while you are away.
- Avoid unfamiliar links
Yes, it’s fun to share links with your friends. If you do happen to be on the receiving end, however, you may want to determine first if the link being sent to you is actually that of a secure site. Otherwise, you just might fall victim to phishing scams. Have a protective software program installed in your gadget so that you can be warned if a link you’re about to head off to is not actually safe.
- Don’t miss out on your mail
This would be the snail mail, not the e-mail. While most people communicate through the Internet, there are still some items that must be delivered personally. Because your mailbox can be exposed to other people, make sure to pick up your mail at the soonest possible time. Always. If not, some random person just might make himself rich using that new credit card stashed away in your mailbox.
- Secure your receipts
They may seem like unnecessary trash, but they sure would come in handy during accounting season (or for someone up to no good).
- Keep your PIN secure
Again, this is self-explanatory. It’s your PIN, your account, your rules. Don’t give your PIN away.
- Check your credit report regularly
If all else fails, the best way for you to nip this matter in the bud is for you to make regular credit checks. The moment you see something amiss, then you can contact your bank and inform them about it. They should spring right to action.
In any case, if you’re still asking how does this crime happen, this article should be able to give you a great picture of what really happens with identity theft.