With the rising popularity of using the internet to purchase goods, the risk of falling victim to identity theft is bigger than ever. While a lot of criminals that commit identity theft are computer savvy, many of them also use very low-tech methods for gaining access to your personal information.
Exercising caution is vital to staying one step ahead of those seeking to scam you out of your hard earned money. Even if you are sure that there is no way for criminals to gain access to your finances, it is still wise to double check your credit report regularly just in case. This will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your identity is protected.
Protect Your Personal Information
When identity theft occurs, the thieves are basically using your personal information to gain access to your funds or to purchase items that will be billed to you. Criminals that gain access to your credit card details can cause a lot of problems for you, so make sure you regularly monitor your credit file for any suspicious activities.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary like charges you know you did not make, contact your credit card company immediately.
It doesn’t matter how secure your computer is if you are not careful with your personal details. While the movies might make you believe that criminals hack into your computer using sophisticated methods to gain access to your details, the reality is often far less glamorous.
If you throw away documents that contain your personal information the criminals can easily obtain these by simply going through your trash. Either file such documents in a safe place or make sure to shred them to prevent criminals from gaining any information.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
It is also important to be aware of your surroundings when entering your credit card number in a ATM. Criminals can easily peer over your shoulder to see what you are entering if you are not cautious.
Make sure that you block the view of the screen and keypad even if you do not notice anyone watching from nearby as criminals can use electronic surveillance devices to monitor activities from quite a distance.
Be wary of phone calls or emails asking for your personal information. Criminals often use a technique called “phishing” to trick people into giving out information that can then be used to commit identity theft.
If you receive any calls promising you something that sounds too good to be true or trying to pressure you into giving personal information in order to avoid losing out on a special offer, be on your guard.
If you use social media sites, you should not only be cautious about the amount of information you display on your profile, but also who has access to it.
Criminals often use fake profiles to “befriend” users online in order to gain access to information that they only share with friends. Think very carefully before accepting requests from people that you do not know in real life.
While being the victim of identity theft can have devastating consequences, it can be avoided by being alert and informed about methods that criminals use.