Identity Theft: How Can
You Protect Yourself? Article By Vasrue.com
Identity Theft - How Can
You Protect Yourself?
Yes, it can happen to you - from seemingly minor credit
card use just one dispute away, to full-fledged devastation
where multiple people use your social security number
to acquire jobs - making you responsible for thousands
of dollars in taxes. Both Gartner Research and Harris
Interactive estimate about seven million people have fallen
victim to identity theft, which equals 799 people each
hour or 19,178 each day. Not all incidents are easy to
resolve, either. The average identity theft victim spends
600 hours conducting tasks to recover from the crime,
while some never recover.
Identity theft - thieves gather information from businesses
or employers, stealing computer or paper records. They
can steal your mail and find credit card statements, offers
or tax information. They conduct phishing and phone scams
to lure information from you, cloaking their email address
or Caller ID so you think you're giving information to
your bank or other legitimate business. They obtain your
credit reports, offering a wealth of credit and employment
data. They attach devices to ATM machines or collect the
information in a data storage device. Change of Address
forms are completed to route victim's mail to another
address. Orders are placed in your name on websites that
bill after receipt, including CD, book or DVD clubs.
Once your information is compromised, they can charge
your credit cards to the limit, open bank accounts, sell
your social security number for employment purposes, file
for bankruptcy in your name, create counterfeit checks
to use or sell, offer your information to the police at
arrest or even take out auto loans. The ramifications
are overwhelming, leading victims in a tangled mess of
litigation, credit collections, bankruptcy filings, employment
denials, tax evasion and possible incarceration.
What can you do to protect yourself from Identity theft? Here's a few tips:
Check your credit report at all three
bureaus annually to ensure accuracy.
Check your employers payroll and HR record security
Shred all financial and confidential paperwork
including loan applications. A small shredder is
extremely inexpensive compared to the ramification
you face should this data be compromised.
Watch what you say on your cell phone and in public
conversations. Keep personal information to yourself.
Never disclose confidential or financial data
over the phone or via email. This includes your
name, address, account and social security number.
Protect your computer with a firewall.
Immediately delete suspicious email.
Leave your social security card at home and be
cautious of those receiving this data.
Leave your phone number, social security and
drivers' license numbers off of your checks.
Be suspicious of telephone solicitors. If you
didn't initiate the call, it may not be the person
Caller ID says it is.
In today's world, information spreads in seconds. Be
smart and safe, preventing identity theft before it happens
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