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Credit Education > Identity Theft > Ways of Saving Yourself from Identity Theft

Ways of Saving Yourself from Identity Theft

By Janet Lacey
Published: Friday, October 9th, 2009

Identity theft is a crime that has been rising day by day, and with recession related job cuts and losses, the problem of stealing people’s identity in order to steal their money is becoming uncontrollably big. While you will come across many people who will tell you that identity theft is carried out mostly by hacking your computers and your email ids, the actual truth remains that ID thieves till date use the most traditional methods of snooping on you.

Knowing some common information—your name, date of birth, address; and some uncommon information—mother’s maiden name, your pet’s name, your first crush etcetera can arm an identity thief with enough material to access your bank and credit card accounts and to apply for credit in your name. While there is no sure shot method of totally preventing your identity from being stolen and misused, some simple steps that you can follow to prevent and control identity theft are:

  • Use Discretion During Disposal: Identity theft resulting from information that has been lifted off your waste bin is a very common problem that law enforcers every where are facing. Stop throwing papers with any kind of financial information—bill payments, receipts, ATM, debit and credit card receipts, bank and credit card statements, solicited and unsolicited offers for credit and debit cards—into the waste bin. Instead, buy a shredder and shred them as soon as possible instead of letting crucial information lie around the house or your workplace.
  • Be Aware: When you swipe your credit or debit card at points of sale, then keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure that no one is writing down your credit card number, snooping over to see your password or acting in a way that you feel is strange. Similarly, whenever you use an ATM, make sure that the people behind you are minding their own business. Withdrawing money from ATMs that are not usually too crowded and those that let you withdraw in private are recommended.
  • Do Not Be Trusting: You may think that letting your best friend or your favorite colleague at work know your ATM or credit card password is cool. It just goes on to show that you trust them. However, there is a vast majority of identity theft cases where people who were known to the victim, in fact close to the victim, used his or her card for withdrawing sums of money or making purchases fraudulently. Even if your friend does not steal your money, there are chances that he may just jokingly divulge the information to people who might.
  • Keep Checking Your Credit Card And Bank Statements: Make it a point to check all your statements at least once a month. If your identity has been stolen, then this is the first place that any discrepancies will pop up. In case you find that some transactions that you do not remember making are listed in your statements, then call up your bank or Credit Card Company to check ASAP. Some identity thieves keep on making transactions over a long period of time hoping that the victim will not notice small exchanges over a long period.

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