as them while applying for credit, jobs, or business ventures.
What is identity theft and identity theft protection?
Identity theft is a great concern these days. Criminals obtain either by buying or stealing other people’s personal information and posing as them while applying for credit, jobs, or business ventures. If you are the victim of an identity theft, you stand to lose a lot more than just your personal information, you can end up losing your credit, your property, and you may even end up being accused of crimes committed in your name. We will help you trace the source of identity theft, recognize the forgery of identity and prevent future misuses of ones identity.
It is important that you understand the following:
- Understand how identity theft works. Many people mistakenly assume that criminals need to get their credit cards or other identification to steal identities. This is not the case in many instances, just your name, date of birth, and social security number are enough to steal your credit. Some criminals only need to know your address to steal your mail and get your information that way. Other criminals pose as someone else in order to get your information directly from you. You don’t want to become paranoid, but do become more cautious about your information. Only offer your information to those who need to know.
- Beware the phishing scam. Phishing pronounced the same as ‘fishing’ is a scam that works as follows: fraudsters pose as a bank, utility company, or other legitimate company in an email or on a phone call. They try to get your personal information by making you a special offer or by claiming that they need information from you because of security problems at the company. Don’t fall for it. Call the company in question using the phone number listed in the phone book, not the number the fraudsters provide, to verify if there is a problem and report the incident.
- Keep a lid on your computer. Install anti-virus and firewall software on your system and keep all your programs updated with patches and other updates. Hackers can use vulnerabilities in programs to view the contents of your computer and steal your personal information.
- Investigate funny mail patterns immediately. If your mail stops coming or if you start getting bills or statements from accounts you do not have or companies you do not patronize, take notice! A common fraudster move is to have your mail redirected to a post office box, where it is opened and sifted for personal information. Some criminals steal credit card applications directly from your box and apply in your name.
- Cover up and hide your personal information. When using ATMs, debit machines, or your identification cards, make sure that no one can see your card numbers or your PIN. Always know where your identification and credit cards are and stow them immediately after use.
- Keep a paper trail. Keep receipts, bills, and other information about your accounts and bills. This may be important information in case you are a victim. If you have lots of paperwork, toss the envelopes and advertisements inside and keep the statements only in file folders.