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Credit Report & Credit Score; Credit Repair, Debt Management > Identity Theft > Identity theft: what you can do and what you need to know

Identity theft: what you can do and what you need to know

By Ruth Racey
Published: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Technology has helped most of us for research, recipes, diy stuff, business and entertainment and social-networking too. Well, these are the good things that technology has given us. Unfortunately, there are people who use their intelligence to steal confidential information of customers which include details such as their bank transactions or social security information and this is termed as identity theft. Identity theft is a serious crime.

Unlike presumed by many naïve consumers, identity theft does not imply another personating you. It refers to stealing confidential information and abusing it.

So, what exactly is identity theft? This is when a person steals information about you and commits fraud or crime. Your information is as good as gold because the information they steal can be used to conduct fraudulent transactions without your knowledge.

There are different ways in which your identity can be stolen and misused. Let us take a look at a couple of ways.

Old fashioned stealing.

The thief steals your handbag and looks for your credit cards. These credit cards will then be used by the thief to purchase various items at various outlets. You will realize this only when you receive your next credit card statement and by then, unfortunately, you would be poorer by a few hundreds or thousands of dollars.

How do you stop a thief from using your credit card? As soon as you realize you have been robbed, call up the customer service department of your credit card lender and inform them about the theft. Place a block on your credit card so the thief cannot misuse it.

Phishing is another way of stealing confidential information. The fraudster sends emails to unwitting consumers requesting for personal information. As an innocent victim, you would readily give them vital information. The next thing, by the time you realize your folly, someone is already using your credit card to purchase some expensive items on the internet. So, what do you do when you receive an email asking you for your vital information? Firstly, you should call your bank and ask them if they have sent such an email. If they say yes, you still have to ask who sent it and when was it sent. If they say no, warning bells should set off in your mind and you should delete the email immediately without revealing any information.

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