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How Do We Prevent Identity Theft?

By Derek Brown
Published: Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Identity theft has been around for quite some time now, victimizing banks, lending companies and individuals, and slipping away from the law. Individuals must be vigilant in preventing this kind of crime for it may destroy their records without their knowledge. Being the one responsible to the crimes and fraud made by other people, it can lead to serious damage to one’s reputation and identity.

When someone calls you claiming to be a credit card or insurance company asking for information about yourself, such as social security number, address, birthday, etc. Always be sceptical. Never give them out because such companies do not ask for sensitive information over the phone and if you are already availing of their services, they have those data in their records.

What are the things we could do to further prevent identity theft? Physical theft is also a way of getting your personal information, if your laptop, mobile phone or wallet gets stolen, the thief, aside from being able to use your credit card, will also be able to use your personal information stored in your stuff. When this happens, make sure to call your credit card companies and social security to alarm them of the theft. Sometimes even our garbage can give away information that we do not want others to see. So make sure that you shred the things that contain information before you throw them out.

Information can also be retrieved from your mailbox. Your monthly billing statements contain account numbers and other data. Make sure that you yourself get your mail first before anyone else goes through them. You must check with your credit company right away when you stop receiving bills. A change of address must have been done without you knowing. Stolen checks and credit cards are to be reported ASAP.

When using social networks, NEVER put your full address, full name and birthday. Updating your friends to where you are going for the weekend can even do harm to you, you may not be updating only your friends but also potential identity thieves as well as burglars waiting for a chance to break in your home. Also make sure that your security settings are on.

When using laptops in public places, be mindful of those around you. Make sure that when you enter your email address and password, no one is jotting it down.  Sometimes even fingerprints can be duplicated by castings, using gummy bears to copy your fingerprints. Perpetrators can be fooling low quality fingerprint scanners.

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