Identity Fraud and Consumer Theft

Avoiding Identity Theft

Be aware of your surroundings to avoid identity theft

 

There are many ways that criminals can accomplish identity theft. You can never be completely safe from becoming a victim. However, there are ways you can minimize your risk of having someone steal your identity.

 

Taking careful stock of your surroundings is a good way to spot the identity thief and avoid him. Watch for people listening too intently to your conversation on the cell phone. Find a computer in a corner, so you won’t have to worry about that person looking over your shoulder while you are surfing. Never loan your credit or debit cards to anyone, and memorize you PIN number instead of writing it down. Finally, keep you voice low when doing business in a crowded room in a “cubicle”.

When dealing with your personal property, never leave your wallet or purse out of your site. Shred documents with personal information on it, like name address and Social Security number; these can be bank statements, credit card bills or even check stubs! Send your mail from a secure mailbox and pick up your mail as soon after it is delivered as possible.

 

Keep a close watch on your credit!
Review your credit report annually to see what your score is and that all cards and charges are truly yours. Make sure no additional credit cards or loans have been opened under your name. When you get your credit card statements, review them thoroughly. Watch for charges you didn’t make or company names you don’t recognize. Follow up if you get a notice through the mail or by phone that you were not accepted for a credit card or loan you did not apply for.

 

When working online.

Give out personal information only on secure sites, and even them only when you have to. Try not to buy too many items on the internet. Watch for “phishing” emails trying to get you to send out passwords and account numbers.

 

Being aware is the easiest way to try to avoid being the victim of identity theft.

Look, listen and watch everyone around you, especially when giving out personal information. Knowing you are doing something can make you worry less and enjoy life more.