VIEWS: 1 PAGES: 2 CATEGORY: Legal POSTED ON: 5/18/2012
You don’t need to have a computer to become a victim of identity theft . . . but it helps. Cyber-crimes involving identity theft continue to rise, so you can consider yourself vulnerable if you use the Internet and do not have an ID theft prevention plan. Hackers find new and ingenious ways to steal personal information every day, and the growing instances of data breaches of large institutions’ databases puts sensitive information at risk on a global scale.
The Urgency of ID Theft Prevention You don’t need to have a computer to become a victim of identity theft . . . but it helps. Cyber- crimes involving identity theft continue to rise, so you can consider yourself vulnerable if you use the Internet and do not have an ID theft prevention plan. Hackers find new and ingenious ways to steal personal information every day, and the growing instances of data breaches of large institutions’ databases puts sensitive information at risk on a global scale. Online scammers use numerous tactics to steal identities, including posing as trusted websites to obtain private information they use to open bank accounts, obtain credit, apply for loans, get driver’s licenses, and even use your health insurance, to name a few. Add organized crime and all of the “non-high-tech” ways to steal identities to the mix, and we have an identity theft epidemic that shows no signs of subsiding anytime soon. But you are anything but helpless in the fight against identity theft. By taking a proactive, vigilant approach to ID theft prevention, you can significantly decrease your chances of becoming a victim. Here are a few high-tech and not-so-high-tech types of identity theft tactics to watch out for, and what you can do (and not do) to prevent identity theft from happening to you: Prevent Phishing: Phishing occurs when an identity thief sends an email from a familiar and official-looking company (such as your bank or a retailer) and asks you to click on a link to verify or update personal information. The website you are sent to appears identical to the real company’s site, making you feel comfortable about providing your information. ID theft prevention tip: Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails and never provide your personal information unless you absolutely have to. Remember that your bank, credit card company, and other reputable organizations will never ask you to “update” personal data online. Avoid Hacking: Hacking takes many forms, and often occurs when identity thieves successfully “guess” or decipher your passwords, PINs, or security questions. ID theft prevention tip: Use strong passwords (avoid obvious personal information such as your birth date) and change passwords frequently. Don’t forget about social networking sites, either. Making public personal information such as your birth date, address, and even your high school also makes you vulnerable to hackers. 1 Guard Against Dumpster Diving: When it comes to identity theft, the old adage that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” couldn’t be more true. Your personal information is a goldmine. Discarded credit card applications, bank account documents, and even the information on medication bottles give identity thieves the opportunity to pose as you in ways that can seriously damage your financial and healthcare information. ID theft prevention tip: Shred all personal documents before throwing them out, don’t leave trash cans out on the curb longer than necessary, and consider paying bills online instead of writing checks. These are just three of the many cunning methods identity theft criminals use to steal identities, slip away undetected, and then reappear to use that information to their benefit. Whether online or offline, staying proactive and vigilant is critical. Learn more about identity theft by visiting www.TheIdentityAdvocate.com and choose the best ID theft prevention and recovery expert today to protect you and your family from identity theft. 2
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