Identity Theft, Identity Theft Protection, ID Theft
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Guard your Identity by knowing Identity Thieves’ Tactics

By Amanda Randell
Published: Friday, March 19th, 2010

Identity theft is a crime which has caused drastic effects in the lives of thousands of citizens in the US and around the world. Being a victim of identity theft could mean having your SSSN number, medical data, ATM information, and even your own character stolen. 

If you become a victim of identity theft, you will be charged with thousands worth of money just for attorneys and lawsuits just trying to clean up your reputation. Getting identity theft protection for yourself and family is therefore, to say the least, very important. 

A good way to prevent identity theft is to first understand the ways thieves steal someone else’s information. 

  • A very simple, yet nonetheless effective way thieves use to steal information is by shoulder-surfing. When entering your pin or account number in computers or ATM machines, you should therefore be careful that no one is looking over your shoulder. It is most often safer to do transactions in ATM booths with secured doors than in public ATM machines. 
  • Discarded legal documents with information printed on them, financial statements, medical records and bills are very advantageous to identity thieves. Identity theft prevention can be achieved by shredding documents and to protect yourself from thieves who do “dumpster-diving”. Never throw documents in paper or trash bins as a whole. 
  • Be sure to destroy and literally break discs, CDs, and DVDs (recordable or not) before throwing them out. It is not enough to simply erase or delete the files from these discs; the files might be recovered and undeleted by technologically-skilled people. 
  • Unfortunately, the internet has made identity-stealing easier. Secure a long password for your PC that thieves will have a hard time discovering, but that you could easily remember. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date to ward off potential hackers and viruses. 
  • Thieves most often raid people’s mailboxes for financial information. It would therefore serve you well to do your financial transactions or drop of and pick up such mail personally at the Post Office or company. 
  • Pickpockets always succeed in obtaining information because the average person carries everything in his or her wallet. In this case, identity theft protection is possible by never carrying everything – your driver’s license, social security number, etc. – in your wallet. Bring only necessary information when going out. 
  • Thieves most often target the victim’s credit information. Protect your credit information by putting a fraud alert / credit freeze / security freeze on your credit report. This will prevent thieves from accessing or using your credit information. Putting a credit freeze on your credit report will warn creditors from fraudulent transactions in case your credit report is stolen. This would then limit or completely block the information from thieves. It only costs a little or no amount. The internet contains many sites offering information about fraud alerts. 

You might conclude that the strategies listed above are very simple. Despite these tactics’ simplicity, however, many still are victimized! In the same manner, identity theft prevention is in many ways, simple, and very much possible if we be vigilant. There are a lot of for-profit and non-profit companies offering tips and services about identity theft protection. Do not hesitate to ask for help. As the saying goes, better be safe than sorry.

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