You love being who you are. Unfortunately, many criminals do too. With identity theft, people gain access to your secured personal information. Then they use your information to buy cars, homes or break laws. Criminals are becoming savvier everyday with the advent of the latest technologies or just being sneaky. In fact, it seems like as soon as one type of identity scam is discovered, there is another way these scammers are trying to steal your identity. So, it’s important to know what types of identity thefts out there to protect yourself.
Soon enough after giving it out, strange events begin occurring. Multiple credit inquiries start showing up on a credit report, or banks you don’t even know call you up wondering when you’re going to pay your consumer loan. And that’s just for starters.
So here are a few things to look for when you suspect somebody’s out there trying to steal your identity:
First, beware the telemarketer who presses you for your social security number and other financial data over the phone. No reputable firm would ask for such data in that manner without a very real, very verifiable reason.
Second, watch for the “phishing” email that comes into your inbox from some address that looks like something you may know, like PayPal or a large national bank, and requests that you go to some link in the email to “update your account so that it can be unfrozen.” You may have a PayPal account in real life – plenty of people do – but these people don’t know that. All they’re doing is spam mailing anybody that their email manages to contact and entice into opening it, and then gambling that one or two people out of a million spam mails will fall for their phony email.
Also, be careful of websites who offer some sort of free, downloadable file for a music program or an online cookbook or anything else that may appeal to someone looking for something for free on the Internet. In some instances, the file will contain a keystroke-reading program which will send all your online banking or bill-paying information for decoding back at the crooks’ own servers.
Again, once the data’s stolen, it’s turned to quick-hit raids on your own accounts or to get as much credit off your good name as possible until they can’t get anymore, or you realize what’s gone on and put a stop to it..
How to stay protected?
Practice proper disposal of valuable information.
Make sure to shred any personal/financial documents before throwing it away. This quick and easy task will help thwart any attempt to steal your identity.
Safeguard online activities.
For any account or login, it’s recommended to use a password that is not easy to crack. Another important tip when online is not to reply or click on links in an email that request for your account or billing information. It’s better to contact the company cited in the email by telephone or by a valid website to verify the email content.
Monitor your monthly bills and credit reports.
Always check your monthly bills to spot any suspicious charges. Moreover, make sure your bills arrive since many identity theft thieves are known to steal your mail to gain access to the personal information. It is also recommended to order your credit reports routinely.
Make copies of your important personal and financial documents.
If your purse or wallet gets stolen, it’s helpful to have copies of everything in it so you can quickly recall all the items that need to be canceled. It’s better though not to carry your social security card in your purse, and have your social security number memorized.
Be informed and updated on identity theft scams.
Being informed and updated on identity theft scams can help you avoid becoming a victim. Note that the internet is not the only place where thieves can steal your personal information.