This is a guest article submitted to IdentityTheftSecrets with the same information (slightly re-hashed and added to) about identity theft that the federal trade commission put out in 2003, and is the same information we have been talking about since then. The article was submitted by a company that lets you submit phone numbers that have been harrassing you.
The reason we are posting this content again is because the information is still relevant. Side note: if you are a legitimate writer who can actually create unique, insightful, and interesting content, we would like to talk to you as we are looking for good content from an independent person who doesn’t need a boss watching over them every minute of the day. If you are that person, please contact us using the form on this site. Article follows…
According to the FBI, identity theft is one of America’s fastest growing problems. Over ten million Americans become the victims of identity theft yearly. Identity theft can occur when criminals steal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers and other personal information.
Awareness is the most important factor in identity theft prevention. Once awareness develops, you can take extra precautions to protect yourself.
How do criminals steal their victims’ identities?
- Mail Theft – Your mailbox is a prime target for criminals. Unsolicited offers like pre-approved credit cards or insurance offers may seem like trash to you, but they are bait for criminals. You can opt out of pre-screened offers by calling 888-5OPT-OUT.If you will be away from your mailbox for an extended period of time, appoint a trusted friend or family member to gather your mail while you are away or cancel your mail delivery. When sending out bill payments, avoid writing your full credit card number on checks and never send your social security number through the mail.Shred all mail that includes personal information before you discard it. Criminals will rummage through trash to find credit card statements, receipts, utility bills or pre-screened credit offers or any piece of mail that contains personal data.
- Phishing – Beware of suspect emails and never click on links without verifying the identity of the sender. Criminals will send you to a website and ask you for personal information while posing as your bank or another seemingly legitimate organization. If you are at all suspicious, contact the organization directly and ask if they sent an email with a link. Banks and other organizations will never ask you for personal information via email or over the phone.
- Robbery and Skimming – Stolen wallets and ATM skimming are also common identity theft occurrences. Skimming refers to the crime of retrieving ATM card information by installing a device on an ATM. The devices are difficult to spot, but most involve a card swipe because they are the easiest to skim. Banks are now taking precautions and converting their swipe interfaces to manual inserts so the reader head is located on the inside of the machine which is difficult for criminals to manipulate. When using the ATM, look over your shoulder also to ensure no one is watching you input your password. Try to use card insert ATMs instead of those with card swipes, if possible.
Prevention and awareness are the best deterrents to identity theft. A few extra measures on your part can make a world of difference and protect you from one of the biggest crimes in the nation.