Identity Theft - A Few Tips To Think About
There are actually several ways criminals can access your personal information.
Some individuals can find your social security number and credit card numbers and passwords by breaking into online databases. Others go dumpster diving and find your important info in the trash - either your trash can or the bank's!
It's vital that you discover early on about the fraud so that it doesn't ruin your credit report. At least once a year, ask for a full credit report and check it over carefully.
What are some ways you can make sure your information stays safe?
If you carry your checks and credit cards in a money belt or a fanny pack instead of in a wallet or purse, your information stays on you, even in the case of mugging or theft.
Take some time to make a list of all your credit cards and the contact information of the credit card companies. This is a quick task if you place all your cards on a copy machine and make one copy of the front and then flip them over and make a copy of the back of all the cards. This way, you'll have your account numbers and telephone numbers to reach customer service within easy reach.
If you're making purchases online, check to see that the URL begins with 'https//'. The "s" on the 'http' indicates that you are on a secure site. Additionally, check to see a small "lock" icon at the bottom of any browser when you're at a secure site-it's a double-check for you.
NEVER respond to any email that asks for your password to an account. Report these emails to the companies and check to see if they're valid. Some thieves send very convincing looking emails "supposedly" from your bank or other institution, asking for this information. Reputable companies will not ask for this information in an email. Don't log into your account from the email. Open a new window and type in the URL of the company in question. Then check out the "supposed problem." This is the best (and only) means to avoid "phishing," which is what these "problem emails" are. The crooks "phish" for your personal information with a key-logging program and whatever information you enter then becomes theirs.
When you go shopping, it's a good idea to just take one credit card instead of a wallet-full. Periodically make a quick phone call to your credit card company or check your account status online, checking the last few transactions made on your card. If you notice anything suspicious, contact the company know immediately.
Identity theft can happen to anyone. Take these few preventative measures, and the likelihood of your enduring the hassle and red tape of fraud will be greatly decreased.
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