Protect Yourself From Identity Theft Online
When identity theft online happens, it can be several months before you are aware that anything has happened. This makes it much more dangerous than other types of theft. If someone steals your wallet, or your car, you notice it immediately, and can start to take steps to protect yourself. When someone plants a cookie on your computer, you don’t even notice it. Each time you visit a site, send an email, or use your credit card online, all the information is delivered to the eager hacker. From there, he can either use the information himself, or sell it online to anyone with the cash and the desire for an alternate identity. A recent report from a major internet security firm estimates that the value of all your personal identity data is about $18 US, and can be purchased on a number of internet sites.
A number of computer programs are available to help you protect yourself from identity theft on the internet. If you are considering purchasing a program to make your computer more secure, take the time to do the research before investing your hard-earned money. You want a program that is frequently updated. The identity theft hackers are constantly working on ways to out smart these types of programs, and you want one that is working just as hard to protect you. Once you decide on the right program, be sure that you don’t ignore the messages to download the latest upgrades. If you ignore these messages, you are refusing to keep your computer secure.
It is also a good idea to frequently change your passwords to any sites that hold your personal information. Use a combination of letters and numbers, and don’t use phone numbers, addresses, or birthdates for your passwords. Also, if you share your computers with others, or use the internet at work, do not check the remember this password prompt. This is an open invitation for anyone else that uses the computer to have full access to all your information.
If you suspect that you have become a victim of online identity theft, there are a few steps to take immediately. You will need to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This tells creditors to take extra steps before opening any new credit accounts in your name. Next, you should close any accounts that you know were opened fraudulently, or have been tampered with. Also, notify your local police, and file a report with them. They will want information about how and where you think the identity theft took place. You can use the History button on your internet browser to track websites you visited recently. This will help to narrow down the suspect sites.
Identity theft online is quickly becoming a threat to all internet users. Once you become a victim, your life, and your credit rating will never be the same. Take steps today to prevent identity theft on the internet from happening to you and your family.
Identity Theft – How It Happens and What You Can Do To Prevent It
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crime trends today, consequences from such crimes lead victims to deal with financial stress and even bankruptcy. Find out how it all happens and what you can do to protect your identity.
Along with the benefits of better technology and faster ways of communicating, providing information and services, comes the huge risk of identity theft. This trend of white collar crimes has been in full effect for several years and has progressively increased in numbers of cases as more and more people find new ways of obtaining and providing information.
Why do bad things happen to good people? It really isn’t that hard to steal someone’s identity and the majority of people are not always smart about protecting personal information, making them perfect candidates for identity theft. Good people are often too trusting and naive, but you don’t have to have these personality traits to become a victim, it can happen to anyone.
How does identity theft happen and how do you prevent it? I am listing here some of the most common ways a thief gets access to your information and you will most likely begin to think about the many times you may have contributed to increasing the likelihood of this happening to you.
- Phishing – one of the most common and still very effective methods. When you are contacted via email or phone by someone asking you to "verify" specific information related to your credit card, pay pal or bank account, they are phishing. No credit card company or bank will EVER contact you asking you for any information about your account over the phone or via email. They know there’s a lot of risk in doing this. Paypal, (an eBay company) also does not practice this. Yet there are tons of spam emails in millions of inboxes asking for this information and very often the information is provided by people who are led to believe that these are legitimate requests.
One method closely related to phishing is getting that call that says you’ve won a prize, they’re usually really excited and they try hard to get you excited about the bogus prize. Once they get you to that level, they’ll ask for your bank account so they can deposit your winnings for you. You kindly provide the info and wait for the prize money to post, only to find out that you’ve just given the thief a prize. This one has not gotten old yet, it still works.
Online hackers – if you’re online a lot you probably have learned a few ways to protect yourself from computer hacks. This is still a growing trend today. Many online users do not make use of the necessary technologies to protect their computer systems. Virus software and firewall software should be used on every PC you own. Hackers are very resourceful individuals and they know how to get into some of the most secure sites in the world so your Dell PC running Windows XP or Vista is no big challenge. If you’re used to keeping files with credit card and bank account information on your system they can easily be found and taken.
Credit card offers – this is something that highly contributes to the chances of you becoming a victim. Credit card companies are in business for money and nothing else. Any protection they are likely to extend to you for a monthly fee is in fact useless as far as your total identity protection goes. If a credit card company receives an application with all your personal information, they will process the application after checking your credit and send you the approved card shortly after. Anyone with your information can make this request, it’s that easy.
To opt out of credit card offers you can do a search for "opt out of credit card offers" and you’ll get a few reliable sources where you need to provide your information for this to happen. You can do this for a time limit or permanently. Always use caution when you provide this information online, make sure the "lock" icon shows up near the status bar of your browser, this means that the information you’re about to provide will be encrypted and protected.
Old browsers – if you are still running windows ME, 98 or God forbid 95 for some reason then you’re probably using a very outdated version of Internet Explorer. If that’s the case, you’re not only at risk, you’re asking for it. Older browsers have serious vulnerabilities that have been corrected in the more recent versions, so if this is you, fix it immediately. Whether you use IE, Firefox or Opera, always update your browsers to the newer versions when they’re released since the security features are often updated.
Your wallet and your purse – how much information do you carry with you? Are you one of those people with a burrito size wallet full of receipts, notes, credit cards, membership cards, contact and other sensitive information? What would happen if you lost your wallet of purse with all of this information in it? It would probably take you more than a few hours to notify every credit card company that you have lost your cards. But how do you know if you have covered yourself enough. Some people carry the information of their kids in their wallets as well. Kids are not shielded from this happening to them; their financial lives could be ruined before they even start them.
Shred your old information – shredders are not expensive, invest in one at once. Never put your old bank account statements or credit card bills in the trash bin. This information can be used to access your accounts and you may have just made somebody’s day by making it available to them. Get in the habit of shredding everything.
Spam and pirated software – You should never open spam email, these are emails from sources you do not recognize, and often your web mail account will automatically filter. But for those that make their way into your inbox, you should always delete. Also never download, or accept pirated software no matter how cool the application. The code on the software has been modified so that it can install without a product key, meaning that the hacker has also been able to add code that can record your activities. These are called keyboard logging programs, which run in the background and you never know about. Once your typing has been recorded the program will send the information to the hacker who can use that information to get access to account logins with your passwords into your credit card or bank account.
Even when you take all these precautions, it’s difficult to guarantee that your information will be secure. These are only some of the most common ways identities are stolen. Thieves are becoming more and more creative with their scams, and know that their methods only work for so long and so they’re constantly coming up with new ways of getting to your information. It’s because of these unknown methods that no one can be truly safe.
There are ways to protect your self against identity theft, but most of these are merely credit monitoring services that are offered through sponsored programs run by the three credit bureaus. These programs have certain guarantees but basically what the service does for you is notify you of suspicious events on your credit. Meaning that they notify you when something has occurred, and this is your queue to take action and stop the illegal activity.
A more advanced method of protecting your identity is to have a complete protection service that not only monitors your credit activity but stops new account from being opened under your name and SSN. These are more specialized services and they offer the most advanced methods in total protection of your identity.
Whatever method you choose to prevent this from happening, it’s important that you practice the precautions listed above and employ at least one of the services available, whether you choose total protection or monitoring alone.How to prevent identity theft Online identity theft is rapidly growing, learn what you can do to protect yourself.What is Identity Theft?
Stealing Identity: Methods and Prevention
Identity theft occurs when some piece of an individual’s personal information is stolen and used to commit fraud. Find out what is identity theft and how to prevent it. Some Tips For Preventing Identity Theft
One of the easiest things that one can do to help prevent identity theft from people going through your garbage is to buy a cross-cut type shredder. Shred all your important papers and especially pre-approved credit applications.
How to Deal with Identity Theft
If you are the victim of identify theft you need to take immediate action to minimize liability and further damage. Here’s what to do – and who to contact – if your personal information has been stolen.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
When I was still working as a call center agent in our company’s fraud division, I was tasked to deal with identity theft victims and provide recommendations on how to remove unwanted charges on their credit card or checking account.