Identity Theft, Identity Theft Protection, ID Theft
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Identity Theft – What to know and How to Protect yourself

By Amanda Randell
Published: Thursday, March 14th, 2013

You’ve finished your shopping and you’re at the counter ready to pay. You’re confident that you’ll pay for everything with your credit card. She walks away to swipe for your card but returns moments later shaking her head, “It did not go through.” After she’s tried it several times, it still does not go through. A trip to the credit card company and you realize someone has been using your credit card without your knowledge. This is probably a case of identity theft.

Identity theft is when a fraudster has enough information about a person to start living this person’s life, as it were. Such crucial information includes full name, date of birth, home address whether it’s current or not. During the past, these fraudsters used to take personal information from the deceased and use it to cater to their needs. In recent times, however, they’ve been able to get even to those who are still alive.

Some people have ignored such mishaps as the one stated in the outset as mistakes in the system. It is best, however, not to ignore such as it can affect you in a big way. When fraud is committed with this other person holding your credentials, you can find yourself in a lot of trouble.

What do this fraudulent people do with the information once they have it? Here’s a list:

  • Opening bank accounts in your name
  • Getting loans and credit cards or using the existing ones
  • Purchase goods in your name
  • Control your accounts, including your phone contacts

Something that needs to be understood is that getting a person’s details is not wrong; creepy, yes but not illegal. However, when it is used for anything that has been listed above constitutes as identity fraud and is regarded as a federal offense.

With this information, how can you protect yourself from identity theft and fraud?

  • Being vigilant and alert to your accounts will pay off greatly. If you receive receipts of things you have not ordered or paid for, it’s time to know what’s going on.
  • Be careful of the trash you throw out. Ensure it does not have information about you or anyone in your family. If there’s need for you to dispose of these documents, it is best to shred them before discarding.
  • Unless you’re absolutely sure, do not give out your personal details to phone calls or emails that appear to be from your bank or Credit Card Company. Confirm with them first before giving out such details.
  • Do not leave personal documents like bills and bank statements out for everyone with a curious eye to look at.
  • Check your bank statements carefully for any irregularities.

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