There is not a whole lot of things worse than opening your credit card bill to find that the charge is significantly higher than you know it should be. It’s bad enough that there are charges on the bill that you didn’t make, but now you also have to deal with the bad credit rating that goes along with all of those racked up charges.
There are other consequences that the actual card holder also faces after credit theft. Credit accounts can also be transferred to fraudulent people or businesses and the savings data will drip out permanently. Often times, valuable information such as a credit card number and password are taken. Clients can be secretly changed by the perpetrator. The criminal can also access and use your social security number for various malicious acts.
Identity theft is unfortunately a rapid growing offense around the world. In 2004 a study was conducted revealing how serious the situation of identity theft is in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission recently found out that nearly 9.1 million individuals are victims of identity theft crimes in the United States alone.
You can prevent identity theft from happening to you.
To prevent this kind of crime there are some important ideas and safety tips about identity theft below:
1. Do NOT forget the receipt or pay slip at the gas pump or ATM station. These print out after your transaction is complete but they often contain valuable information for thieves.
2. Be observant and mindful when dealing with details. Make sure to secure and organize files for bank account receipts and bills. Things of this nature should always be shredded before throwing out. Well trained identity thieves can gather your personal and financial information off of just a few bits and pieces of data on papers.
3. The FBI is running a current investigation and found that 30% of ID theft victims claimed the thief was a co-worker or a friend. This shows that you should be cautious of those around you. Don’t leave bank documents or personal information data out for anyone to see. Most suspects know the routines and lifestyles of their victims making them easier targets.
4. Use credit banking and bureaus to get a copy of your credit report and statements on a regular basis.
5. Opt out of the mailing list or insure it is secure. To make sure a bank mailing list is safe you can call the bank registry office to give you an idea of which mailing lists are safe from ID theft.
6.† Never write your social security number on a check. If the check gets into the wrong hands you want the thief to have as little information on you as possible. Also, do NOT carry your social security card in your wallet. It should be kept secured for privacy.
7. Do NOT have your banking information such as bank account number printed on anything (ex. Driver’s license).
8. Delete spam emails. Often spam emails will opt you to enter your credit card or bank account information to access something off the Internet. These include credit card offers and fraudulent websites. This is usually a scam for the thief to obtain vital information from you. You should stop all credit card offers from the Internet and email. Having a spam detector on your email helps some with this. If you have a firewall or anti-spyware software this helps also. These softwares can protect your computer password from hackers and secure personal data sheets as well.
9. Get your initials of your name printed on your new batch of checks rather than your full name. And get the checks from a designated bank purchaser office directly.
10. Your bank account password should be private. Do NOT carry your pin number in your wallet or write it on your debit card.
11. Do NOT give any personal or financial information over the phone.
To protect your personal information on your computer download PC Cop.† PC Cop will help protect you from identity theft online.
If you or someone you know feels that you may be a current victim of identity theft it is appropriate to contact your nearest Justice Department. A bank office may also be able to help you determine if there is a crime involved and how to fix it through your bank. Taking extra care to protect yourself from identity theft is the best thing you can do. In this situation, it is much easier to prevent identity theft than to repair the damage it causes.
Everyone needs to work to prevent identity theft from happening to them. Any time personal information is taken from someone, it is not just ruined credit that they need to worry about. Innocent individuals have been charged with crimes they did not do because others committed them under their names. Disproving these crimes can be difficult.
Reversing the damage can take a very long time and this is why I want to help you focus on how to prevent Identity Theft.† That is why it is best to keep it from happening in the first place. It is hard to guard all information all of the time, but knowing what to do can significantly reduce the chances.
The first step in preventing identity theft is to never disclose a social security number. This is a very important personal identifier and can make theft easy for a thief. If anyone calls via telephone, stating that they are from a particular organization and that the entire social security number needs verified, chances are it is fraud. Most organizations only verify the last 4 digits when they are called. They do not call.
This number should also not be given over the Internet, even if doing so is believed to be safe. If applying for credit cards or similar, the site should have https in the address bar rather than http. This shows that the site is secure and it should be one that a person knows is trusted. The same rules apply to any account numbers. Also have an anti-virus software on the computer to prevent hackers from accessing the computer.
If bills are missing from month-to-month, contact the creditor and ask if they are mailing out statements. Missing bills could be a sign of mail theft and a lot of data can be obtained from a simple bill.
When personal data is present on a form, tear it up if it is not needed later. Never throw away anything that can benefit a thief without tearing it or shredding it first. If something must be kept, a fireproof safe, file cabinet, or lock box can prove to be beneficial.
And individuals should be mindful of what are called skimmers on swipe ATM machines and should also not allow debit and credit cards to go out of their sight when possible. If an ATM slot looks strange, do not use it and try to watch all transactions in stores and restaurants.
Last but not least, credit reports need to be evaluated annually in order to prevent identity theft. Strange activity can be seen and stopped before it becomes a problem. A thief can be stopped quickly and it is possible for them to be caught so that they can never do it again. This is a way to prevent identity theft from happening to others.
The list is not in order of importance. All of these suggestions will help ensure that thieves cannot access your
1. Donít give out your social security number.
Depending on your age, you may remember a time when driverís licenses in some states
bore social security numbers and many people included the identification numbers on
their checks. Businesses often required the number in order to cash a check or accept one
as payment. This is a big step for you to help prevent identity theft.
That was one of the ways that thieves were able to steal peopleís identities.
Unless it is a requirement, as it would be for filling out an application for credit, donít
give your social security number to anyone.
2. Request a copy of your credit report on an annual basis.
You can get reports from the three major credit bureaus for free every year. If you notice
an application for credit that you didnít make or a new account that you didnít open, you
have been a victim. See #10 of the top 10 ways to prevent identity theft.
3. Donít ignore it when bills seem to be missing.
One of the ways that thieves gain access to your personal information is to steal your
mail. The more information they have about you, the easier it is for them to ďbecomeĒ
you, at least on paper. Act immediately if something seems to be missing, particularly a
credit card or bank statement. See suggestion #10.
4. Buy a small safe or lock box.
This is an especially good idea for anyone that has roommates or a housekeeper. We
want to trust these people, but itís still not a good idea to leave passports, social security
cards or other important documents lying around. A small safe or even a locking box is
enough to deter most people.
5. Purchase a shredder.
You can shred all of your bank statements, cancelled checks and credit card statements
or even all of your mail once itís been read. Dumpster diving is another way that people
steal personal info.
6. Donít give out your account numbers, addresses or other personal information over the phone.
If you receive an unexpected call from your bank or credit card company, call them back.
One of the scams used by con-men recently was to call up a bankís customer, pretend to
be working for the bank and ask them to verify their personal information. If you get a
call like this, call the number on your bank or credit card statement. If itís a scam, the
company will be alerted.
7. Safeguard your computer(s).
You need to make sure you have anti virus, antispyware and anti identity theft software on your pc.
8. Ignore internet links in emails.
Even if the link appears to be from someone you know, donít click on it. G-mail and
some of the better systems will now show you the actual email address if you hover over
the one you see. If you have some good virus protection software, you donít have to
worry about this one. You can prevent identity theft by not falling into the phishing schemes.
9. Donít ignore letters concerning purchases you did not make.
Some people get notices from companies concerning purchases they did not make.
Instead of calling the company to try and correct the situation, they shrug and ignore it.
When you get a call or a letter like that, you have already been a victim, but itís not too
10. Notify the correct authorities immediately if you suspect you have been a victim of
The first step is to put a ďfraud alertĒ on all of your credit reports. That will prevent
anyone from trying to use your identity to get credit.
Second, call the company that opened the account without your approval. Follow up with
a written letter advising the company that you will not be responsible for any charges
made on the account.
Third, file a police report. This is a way of proving to creditors that you have been a
Fourth, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. This helps other people and
police officers with their investigations.Fifth, keep copies of all letters sent and document every phone call that you make. The more evidence you have, the more convincing your case will be to the creditors,
investigators and credit bureaus.
If we are going to prevent identity theft on any kind of large scale we need to make it harder for these thieves to steal our identity.† If you have ever had someone use your credit without permission then you know firsthand the importance for us to prevent identity theft.
ID theft protection is no longer just about the printed materials you have scattered around the house. Now you have to worry about everything that is stored on your computer, too.
Millions of Americans were victims in the last 12 months. Most of them had entered personal information into their PCs without a second thought.
They spent an average of $1200 each to fix their problems according to the Federal Trade Commission. In addition to the cash, they spent over 100 hours. Many people feel that the time spent was even more of a loss than the money.
A lot of people think that installing anti-phishing and anti-viral programs is enough. Those things do help protect your PC, but they do not protect your identity.
Cleaning your surf history on a regular basis is a good idea. Otherwise, anyone that walks into your home could see where you have been.
PC Cop is the best way to protect the personal information that is hidden on your computer. Every time you ever entered your credit card number, address, social security number or anything else sensitive it was recorded on your hard drive and in just minutes any hacker online or person with access to your pc for a few minutes can retrieve your person information.
If you have recently been doing some online banking, they could transfer the funds into their own account. It is particularly easy for them to do when you have your browser save your passwords for a website.
But, even if you tell the browser to ďneverĒ save a password for a sensitive site, the passwords are still stored on your PC. In order to have ďrealĒ ID theft protection, you need to encrypt this kind of information.
PC Cop is a software program that can help. It allows you to scan your computer and find personal information that you might not realize is there. Once the info is found, you have the option to delete it, password protect it or encrypt it. It will even help you generate passwords that baffle the best hackers.
After you install PC Cop, your ID theft protection is almost complete. There are only a few more things to do.
First, you want to create a secure user name and password to log onto your PC. You do not want someone to be able to get in easily.
The rest is simply a matter of disposing of documents properly. Any mail that you receive should be checked for personal information before you throw it away.
Things that a thief can use to steal your identity include social security, driverís license and credit card numbers. Once they have one or more of those numbers, they can ruin your credit rating or worse.
Remember that PC Cop provides the best ID theft protection for your personal computer. The rest is common sense. To download PC Cop just go to PCCop.com.