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.