Lives have literally been shattered by Identity Theft. A global problem of growing proportions is picking victims at random who inadvertently leave a trail by which thieves can enter into your personal life and create havoc. If given the chance, the hacker can make life miserable for the unsuspecting person. Once found out, the problems to restore your accounts can seem insurmountable and the time involved can take months. So, nip this potential issue in the bud by learning all you can about protection identity theft.
It has now become accessible for all citizens of the United States to check their credit reports on a once a year basis. This should be done and all information gathered there scrutinized carefully. Any activity that you are not familiar with should be investigated promptly. It could be a simple error on your report that needs correcting. It could also be the activity perpetrated by an identity thief.
In today’s society, entire lives are regulated by accounts and the numbers that are given them. Thinking about the number of places that hold personal information is alarming. Banks, doctor’s offices and anyone that we do business with has some item of personal information that an identity thief could use to take over our entire lives. In addition, more and more people are using their computers to keep abreast of their bank accounts, utility bills, and credit card statements. Computer hackers are working feverishly to find ways to access this data. If your computer is unprotected, find a spyware protection program and install it immediately on your computer. Never under any circumstances should internet mail be opened from anyone that is not immediately recognizable.
Computer scammers have cost many users difficulty by using the name or names of your trusted friends to send mail to you. Do not fall for this fraudulent practice whereby money is being asked for due to a crisis in your friend’s life. Does it not make more sense for a friend to contact you personally with a serious problem? If they are foolish enough to use this tactic to get in touch with you, a phone call to them will clear the matter quickly.
Have you ever received a statement from your insurance company stating that they paid for a procedure that you did not have? Call them immediately and inquire about this erroneous information. It could be due to an employee entering wrongful information in your file or someone may have been able to access your medical insurance. With the high cost of medical expenses today, more and more people are using this way of getting the medical attention they need. If anything raises suspicion, notify your company right away.
So you have done everything that you can think of to protect your identity. What about all the people that have your name, address, and credit card numbers? Is your doctor, lawyer, or bank being as cautious as you are? These same people have your Social Security number and if a hacker has that, they can do a great deal of damage in a very short time. Even when they have done all the right things, employees having access to your information may make use of it for their own illegal purposes.
Copies of all documents in your possession that contain identifiable information should be kept in a secure locked place at your residence. In case of theft, this will give you easy access to your bank and credit card accounts to have them immediately closed. As far as hackers have come in regard to identity theft, nothing makes it easier for them than a lost wallet. Closing your accounts immediately will stop theft before it can occur.
When using ATMs, be especially cautious. Be alert of anyone standing around you. This is one way in which thieves can access your pin number. Whenever possible, opt for direct deposit of all checks rather than having them mailed to your home address. They same goes for any checks that you may be mailing. Use the mailbox at your local Post Office rather than your home. Tampering with mail is a federal offense but that will not stop a determined hacker. Purchase a paper shredder and use it faithfully. Documents that have any of your personal information should be shredded. Use passwords to protect access to your accounts and make them difficult to identify. Randomly mixing numbers, letters and characters is usually best.
The best advice is to use your common sense. If you see a piece of paper with identifying information on it, it can be sued to get into your profile. If it cannot be destroyed, use every safety precaution at your disposal to keep it out of the hands of thieves. Shredding and locking up items can keep you from being victimized, as well as learning all you can about Identity Theft.