Tips To Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft cannot be 100% fully prevented. To do so would require a policy of never sharing financial information with anyone, anywhere, anytime. You would not be able to conduct financial transactions in society with that policy. And even if you were able to, your information is already in the records of your physician, bank, the IRS, department of motor vehicles, etc. There is no way to remove this information. Therefore you could become victim to identity theft. However, there are steps you can take to reduce those chances. Internet mail is one of the main sources that perpetrators of identity theft are using to gain access to your personal information. The perpetrator may send threatening emails, or emails that seem appealing. Emails requesting personal financial information are linked to identity theft and arrive in millions of mailboxes worldwide each and every day.

In most cases, no one person is being specifically singled out to become the next victim. It is just not worth the effort involved. Identity thieves are not interested from whom they are stealing the identity from. Instead they focus on targeting as many people as possible as it is a numbers game. The more people they target the higher are the chances that someone will be tricked into volunteering personal financial information.

The senders of these emails are challenging the receiver by using deception, hoping the receiver will give out personal information, such as bank numbers, PIN and passwords, Social Security numbers and other precious information that the thief can use to gain control over your identity. Often these emails state that a bank account or Paypal account has been frozen until information is verified. The victim, being worried that pending transactions will not clear properly, will follow the demand of the email that account information be “updated”. The criminal who sent the email will always include a handy link to click on for updating the requested information. Never click on those links.

If you want to avoid identity theft, there are several emails that you may want to bear in mind are SPAM, and you should completely ignore them. One is the forzen account along with a request to update your personal financial information. Another is a claim that you have won x amount of cash, and to act now to receive your prize. If you have not joined a contest, then chances are you have not actually won a prize. A third is an email claiming that you could receive scholarships or grants to attend such and such a college; to earn your degree act now by providing your personal information. These are all fake and designed by criminals to steal your personal financial information. Delete them without a second thought!

Companies that already have your personal information, such as your bank have no reason to ask for this again in an email. In fact, most banks clearly state in their Terms & Conditions that they will never send electronic mail requesting information from the customer at any time. Giving your personal information to someone that sent an email that has your bank name listed in the header is only asking for trouble.

Identity thieves are extremely creative when it comes to stealing identities, including sending emails in respected names. The prestigious FDIC was targeted by thieves; the sender sent emails to recipients of the bank requesting that they provide personal information to avoid closure of their accounts. Microsoft was also targeted by thieves when emails were sent to various inboxes requesting the receiver to download patches to protect their computers. Once the receiver downloaded the attachment, a dangerous virus took control of their computer, leaving a backdoor entry that would give the hacker access to the information stored on the computer.

EBay is also a target for thieves. EBay scams abound. False Paypal payments are common, as well as false or counterfeit checks. Be very wary of anything purported to be from EBay that seems fishy. If you have to think twice about the legitimacy, it is likely a scam. Beware. Here are some helpful tips for you to avoid identity theft as much as possible: 1) Do not open emails if you do not trust the sender.

2) Never give out your personal information over the internet, unless you know that the company can be trusted and is using encryption to secure the web page(s). If Paypal or EBay request your information, which they never have done to this author. go directly to their home page, log into your account there, and see if the request is associated with your account. Never click the link in an email requesting information.

3) Do a background check on any site you are thinking of giving your information to or you are considering buying from. This includes calling the state attorney general’s office. 4) Change your PIN numbers and passwords regularly, at as minimum every 6 months. 5) Do not post even general financial information on forums, bulletin boards or discussion boards online.

6) Conceal your personal information at all times, including at home. 7) Never give your personal information over the phone line. 8) When using ATM or other machines to make deposits, withdrawals, or purchases make sure no one sees you type in your PIN number.

9) Do not just throw personal information, such as bank statements or letters containing your postal address, account numbers or any sensitive information in the trash. This is a favorite place for criminals to search. Put it through a shredder first. 10) Never mail your tax return by putting it in your mailbox with the flag up. Criminals will drive neighborhoods during tax season searching for tax returns. These are the ultimate sources of information for identity theft.

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1 Comment »

  1. Joline Callicutt said

    There are plenty of unscruplous people around who will try to adopt your identity in order to get what they want (normally money). And while it doesn’t help if you do what I do – publish not only your email address and phone number on your website, but also a map on how to get to your house on foot – trying to conceal your identity from everyone is not the answer either.`

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