The Main Causes of Identity Theft and Some Important Identity Theft Protection TipsBy admin • Jan 31st, 2008 • Category: Credit Card Theft and Fraud, Identity Theft, Identity Theft Protection, Identity Theft Victims, LifeLock
A lost or stolen wallet or checkbook is the most common source of information used to commit identity theft. Wallets and checkbooks contain a number of items that are sensitive to the owner and a goldmine for identity thieves.
Dumpster diving is a term used for when thieves rummage through trash cans for information. Bills, accounts, leases, employment details and tax information that hasn’t been shredded can be used or sold by identity thieves.
Mail theft is as simple as stealing it from your mailbox. Pre-approved credit offers, bank statements and tax forms are like gold to criminals who deal in identity theft.
About half of all identity fraud is committed by people close to the victim. Friends, family members, relatives, employees, and caregivers all have access to private information like personnel records, employment details, insurance policies and account numbers.
Impostors pose as someone who has a legitimate or legal reason to access the victim’s personal information. There are also increasing incidences of impostors ringing victims and claiming to be with security divisions of credit companies, claiming they need to verify details like passwords.
Unsecured documents in the home can allow identity thieves to can gain access to personal information through household work or repairs, babysitting, healthcare, friends, or roommates.
Online theft is real and fast. Be cautious when sending information electronically, especially credit card and bank account details. Information sent through email, online chat rooms, and even supposed legitimate web storefronts can easily be intercepted by thieves.
How to Safeguard Your Information and Avoid Identity Theft
Keep a close eye on what’s going on with your accounts. In many cases, identity theft goes months before the victim is aware of it. Most identity theft crimes are self-detected, so remember that you are the best person to safeguard your own information.
Some Important Tips
- Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately and cancel any inactive credit card accounts.
- If you applied for a credit card, or if a card expires and a new one doesn’t arrive, immediately notify the provider.
- Make sure you sign your credit card immediately upon receiving it.
- Make sure there are no unauthorized charges on your credit card bills.
- Try electronic bills, statements, and checks instead of paper
- Use direct deposit of payroll to prevent paper pay slips ending up in the wrong hands
- Shred personal and financial information like bills, bank statements, ATM receipts, and credit card offers before you throw them in the trash
- Keep your personal documentation and your bank and credit card records secure
- Try to limit the information that you carry with you in your wallet or purse.
- Do not give your Social Security number, credit card number, or any bank account details over the phone.
- Do not disclose bank account numbers, credit card, and other personal data online unless the site is secure
- Don’t allow mail to build up in your letterbox
- Don’t write down passwords or your Social Security number for storing