Surviving Identity Theft
Surviving Identity Theft
The following guide is on surviving identity theft. It is best to take all possible actions on the prevention side. Don McValvany says, "Preventing identity theft is much easier than recovering from it after it occurs." The United States Department of Justice defines identity theft and fraud as: "terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person'sdata in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Unklike your fingerprints, which are unique to you and cannot be given to someone else for their use, your personal data, especially your Social Security number, your bank account or credit card number, your telephone calling card number, and other bvaluable identiying data can be used, if they fall into the wrong hands, to personally profit at your expense." The following guides are helpful if you want to prevent or become a victim of identity theft.
Steps to Preventing Identity Theft
- Destroy all papers with vital financial information that you are discarding. You can use a shredder or burn it. Don't throw it in the garbage where some one can access it.
- Be careful of people looking over your shoulder when dealing with personal information especially at ATM's or when in line at a grocery store. Take steps to block the line of site of possible thieves.
- When surfing the internet delete any spam and don't respond to unsolicited e-mails.
- When on the computer & dealing with internet security make sure you have a firewall system in place with good anti-virus software. Make sure you have no credit card, bank account, or brokerage numbers on your computer in the event a skilled hacker may try to access that information. Be vigilant for false e-mails scams that try and get vital information via a trojan horse scam.
- Be aware of telephone scams that ask for critical information. They may pose as a charity, government, or credit card company trying to trick you into turing over vital information.
- Check your credit report and make sure the information matches what your records indicate.
- Be stingy with personal information. Don't give out your Social Security number unless you must. Put your initials for your name on you checks, avoid using your phone number, and use a PO Box if possible.
- If you go on vacation make sure that your mail is picked up and secured. If it sits in a mail box it can be an easy target for thieves.
- Check your financial information on a regular basis for transactions that you didn't authorize. Also be aware of missing statements and changes of address for these can be the first tip off that something unusual it going on.
- With unemployment becoming more of an issue and harder economic times there is an increase in identity theft. When applying for jobs or on resumes never put your Social Security number, driver's license number, sex, marital status, and graduation dates from schools.
- Keep a list in a secure place of all important numbers such as passport, bank accounts, credit cards, driver's license, etc... along with contact phone numbers.
Steps to take if Identity theft happens you: