With everything online, nowadays identity theft seems to be a common occurrence. So hopefully this contributed post may help!
Here are five easy, cheap, effective, and popular methods to stop someone committing a fraudulent crime and stealing your identity...
1) Invest in a shredder
Make sure you shred all of your documents associated with both your identification and your finances. This includes all credit card and debit card statements, letters from the bank, any type of bank receipt, simply anything with any information of this sort - no matter how trivial it may seem. Even if your credit card statement is ten years old get rid of it. If you don’t have a paper shredder or cannot afford one then become a bit creative and think of another method; burn them or flush them down the toilet if you have to. However, do not merely chuck them in the bin - your rubbish could be someone else's gain.
2) Beware of scams
Email scams, telephone scams, chat scams... Everybody has been targeted by some sort of scam at some point in their life. Be extremely careful when dealing with anyone or any company that you are not 100% aware of and do not 100% trust. Email scams can often be hard to decipher, they usually consist of someone pretending to be a company and telling you that you need to make a payment immediately or respond with your details for some reason or another. Often these people masks themselves as a bank and ask you to validate your information, if you are unsure, then call the organization the person is claiming to be to find out if the email address is theirs. The chances are that 99% of these emails will be a scam because responsible organizations would not contact you in this way. An older but still very much in use scam is through someone phoning up and pretending to represent a company - much like an email scam. Never give out any credit details over the phone. Most secure companies will ask you for various information such as date of birth, social security, password, username, secret answers, and your address to ensure that you are who you say you are before proceeding with your call.
3) No bills?
If you have not received your monthly bills ring up your bank to make sure that no change of address or anything out of the ordinary has been issued. Filing a fake change of address form is a common method used by identity theft criminals.
4) Be vigilant
This may sound obvious but you would be surprised at how many people leave their purse laying around or make their passwords for important financial accounts as easy as ‘123’. Try not to keep important cards such as your social security card with you instead make sure it is stashed somewhere safe. And while creating passwords, make sure they're complicated and extremely difficult for anyone to guess; include a mixture of numbers and letters in both upper and lower case, and even symbols if possible. For businesses, expert assistance is a must. You can learn more here about your options.
5) Check your credit report
Make sure you monitor your credit report on a regular basis and look out for anything odd or peculiar that could be a sign that someone has been tampering with your account.