Prevent identity theft

Edited by Ephraim, Charmed, Innocent Yogo, Eng and 4 others

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Identity theft can happen at any place at any time. Most people believe that identity theft is an online problem. In fact online identity theft is NOT the most common type of identity theft.

2012 statistics shows that there were over 12 million cases of identity theft in the United States. Over 12 million people is something to worry about and it is important to protect yourself from ending up in that big number of identity theft victims.

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Even after you have caught the person who may have taken your identity it can take up to a month to restore or gain back your identity so preventing is the best solution in order to have complete control of your identity without any complications.

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Please consider the following:

  1. 1
    Passwords.
    These are the key ways to get into your account regardless of the account that you are protecting. If you want the best results to prevent you from being a victim choose your password wisely. A lot of times hackers easily get into accounts by trying passwords that relate to you in a personal manner so using those kinds of passwords put you and your account at risk. If you choose to use a password of this caliber it is wise to add special characters to your password to make it more difficult to figure out. A lot of times we as people use the same password for other accounts so try to use a different password for each account that you possess which will make it harder for a person to get into all of your accounts. Use this tactic with your pin numbers as well.
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  2. 2
    Anti-Virus.
    Identity thieves use different program to gain account information from your computer without you knowing anything at all if your computer is not protected. Even if you do not see the things happening personally understand that it doesn't mean that nothing is happening to your computer which is something a lot of people mess up with being that if they do not see anything wrong they believe everything is okay with their computer. A lot of hackers and thieves use software that allows them to secretly gain access to everything on your computer, so if you log into your bank online they will also have all the information they need to gain access to your banking account and all other accounts on your computer. Purchase anti-virus software on your computer and keep the software running on your computer at all times. Having this software will block thieves from being able to gain access to the information on your computer but understand some thieves have software that can possibly by pass but will be harder for them do so which in turn will ward them away from your computer and to an easier computer that does not have virus protection at all.
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  3. 3
    Beware of Phishing.
    Phishing is very popular and is on-going but is up to you to avoid being subjected to phishing. Phishing is basically when you receive an email that asks you for personal information such as passwords, account numbers, credit/debit card numbers and even social security numbers. When you receive an email like this it is best that you ignore the email completely and do not release your information to the person at all. Sometimes the emails will be disguised as being your bank, eBay account or etc. Understand that your personal accounts will not send you any type of email asking you to provide your information for they already have all the information they need. Before responding to the email contact your account directly and ask if any email was sent to you from their organization to ensure that you do not send your information to the wrong person. These also come in forms of telephone calls, texts and even mail at times but it is important that you contact your institution before replying to any type of information of this sort about your personal information.
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  4. 4
    Personal Devices.
    A lot of times we sell our personal devices when they are old or when we just need money at the time but it's important to understand that when selling these devices, you are also selling all your personal information with the computer. Anyone who gets hold of your devices can access all the information that you have stored on your device. So it is important that when you've decided to sell your device, you should completely erase all of your information prior to the selling. Anything can be accessed so be sure you erase all content when selling computers, cellphones, iPods or even digital cameras (cameras will hold personal pictures of one's self and family for use of compiling a fake profile of you for identity theft). Even by deleting things off of your hard drive will prove not to be enough for a computer savvy person can actually recover things from your hard drive so the best way to protect yourself is to Factory Reset all devices.
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  5. 5
    Shop Online Only with Legitimate Stores.
    When shopping online ensure that you locate the icon on the page that shows that the website is secure for purchasing. If the website is not protected then understand that your information is not protected at all on this website meaning that a hacker can easily access your information. A lot of these websites are constructed to get your information in order to steal your identity and records. If you are unsure of a website you can easily do a review on the site in order to get more information on the sites background and complaints against the site to ensure that your information is protected from identity thieves. In addition to this step also spread your accounts out a bit using some accounts for online purchases and also for in store purchases to save yourself from having all your money possibly taken by an identity thief.
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  6. 6
    Spam.
    These emails are sent to you regarding a range of topics but you will know for yourself which topics do not pertain to you or anything you have done or applied for on the internet. If you receive spam email do your best to not reply back to the email at all for you will be letting the spammer know that you have acknowledged their email that was sent to you from them. Some people like to send spammers joking replies back or even harmful replies but by doing this the spammer knows that they have connected to you and from here they will continue to contact you for information in different emails. Also when receiving email from spammers ensure that you do not by any means download anything that may be attached to the email for the contents can be very harmful to your computer and also you may download a virus to your computer through the attachment so if you do not recognize the email do not even give it the attention.
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  7. 7
    Stay Alert.
    Even though a lot of identity theft occurs online you can also become a victim while you are shopping in retail stores or going to the ATM. A lot of thieves will watch over your back to see your pin number which in turn can become a problem if they manage to pick pocket or rob you of your information for it will take time to report your card stolen and in that time an identity thief can rob you of everything in just minutes for a phone call. When typing an information be sure to watch your back to make sure nobody is peeking over your shoulder and use the mirrors at the ATM in order to watch potential thieves also while taking care of your ATM needs. Even if you have nobody in sight be sure to cover up when typing your information in for some thieves even go through great lengths to install cameras and even watch from a distance at the information that you have inputted in the ATM.
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  8. 8
    Carry Lightly.
    A lot of us like to carry a lot of information in our wallets or in our possession but understand that if you lose or have your carrier stolen that all your information is in one place making it easier to have your identity stolen. If you are simply going to the store take what you need and not everything that you own including credit cards, debit cards, cash, social security cards, library cards or extra identification (excluding driver license) just take exactly what you need to make your purchases and not things that are pointless to take on your venture. Check books also carry a lot of information including your name, address and even your social security number along with all bank account numbers so if you do not need your check book it is best to leave it at home. Credit cards are the biggest threat in your wallet if not for identity theft only but for causing you to be robbed of your money. Credit cards do not all need pin numbers but just performing a swipe can cause purchase to go through easily on your behalf by a thief.
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  9. 9
    Destroy unwanted information.
    A lot of times we get bank statements or information that is unwanted but also has a lot of information about ourselves on the document which we throw away in the trash to get it out of the home but this is very dangerous in the hands of a thief. If the information is unwanted the best thing to do is to shred the information or even burn the information rather than allowing it to be taken by a thief and used against you making you a victim of identity theft. Some thieves actually dumpster dive in order to collect information against people to use as though it sounds silly and extreme. Understand that it happens and simply throwing a bank statement out in the trash can cause you to have your identity stolen from you in an instant. Even if you shred the information make sure that it shreds into small pieces versus big clumps for they can easily be put back together like a puzzle when burning information is needed. Understand there is no way to reconnect ash so do not worry about information after it has been burned. Protect your mail ensure that you are getting all the mail that you should be receiving on time.
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  10. 10
    Get Your Snail Mails Protected.
    When you are planning to be away from home for several weeks or even just for several days, inform your local postal office. Temporarily cancel any mail deliveries while you are out. This will ensure that nobody can go through your mails when you are away.
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When you discovered that you have been the most recent victim of these unscrupulous identity theft, report it immediately.

  1. 1
    Call your credit card provider and inform them of the incident.
    Let them freeze your cards until further notice from you.
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  2. 2
    File a police report.
    It could possibly help you find the culprit. There might be some other related reports that they have received in the past which they can connect with your case and let the people responsible pay for their crime
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Categories : Financial

Recent edits by: Maria Sharon Ubando, Robbi, Anonymous

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