How to Deal with Identity Theft
Every year in the United States and across the globe thousands of individuals become victims of Identity theft.
What is Identy Theft?
Identy theft is the collection and use of your personal information whether it be your name, your date of birth, your address, your banking information, your drivers license number, your credit card numbers and any other personal identification numbers without your consent. Once a person’s identity has been stolen this information can be used to open new bank accounts, apply for credit cards, purchase big ticket items, apply for loans, redirect mail, rent cars or hotels, begin cell phone service and even buy a home or start a new job.
How serious is Identy theft?
Identity theft is extremely serious and is punishable by law. If you fall victim you could end up dealing with thousands of dollars in charges, bad credit, bad checks and a tremendous amount of taxes to pay.
Ways to fight Identy theft
In order to not become a victim of the crime of Identity theft follow these helpful tips:
- Decrease the risk as much as possible by guarding your personal information, this includes not just in your everyday life but while using the Internet as well.
- If you find yourself in a situation where your personal information is required then be persistent in finding out why it is required, how it will be used and who will have access to it. If in doubt, don’t give it out!
- Never give anyone your banking information or your credit card number over the telephone or e-mail or anywhere else on the Internet unless you are certain of who you are speaking with and you know that the website you are dealing with is secure.
- Keep abreast of when your bills are to arrive in the mail. If a telephone bill or water bill does not arrive on time, give it a couple of days and if it still does not arrive then get in touch with the company to inquire without further delay.
- If your credit card, bank card or any other forms of identification has been lost or stolen then get in touch with the creditors immediately to cancel your cards and have new ones issued to you. Always make sure you have your credit card numbers written down somewhere at home and keep them in a safe place. This also is the case for all insurance policies.
- When choosing passwords for anything never choose something simple or easy for others to figure out such as your children’s name, your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, etc. Memorize your passwords and make it a practice to change them as often as possible.
- Never jot down your passwords or slip a piece of paper in your wallet or purse with the passwords written down on them.
- When throwing out papers with personal information on them burn your documents or run them through a paper shredder before discarding them in the trash or recyclable bin.