How to Implement an Identity Theft Protection Routine – Identity Theft

Identity theft is a major problem in the United States. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft consistently tops the list of consumer complaints. In fact, in 2004, identity theft was the grounds for more than 42% of all the complaints filed with the FTC Consumer Sentinel database. Moreover, identity theft costs an estimated $53 billion annually. This is inclusive of all types of loss, such as total loss, business and individual victims.Many people think of identity theft and they automatically think of using their credit card on the Internet, or using Internet-based banking services. In actuality, studies show that as much as 70% of all identity theft cases result from an “inside job”. That means that an employee or co-worker of a business where you shop could be an identity thief. Additionally, often, what results in such cases is that the perpetrator is not even an employee – it is the business owner who is the identity thief.Yet another startling revelation is that in more than 25% of cases where identity theft is reported, the victims knew the identity thief or were even related to them. The number one rule in protecting yourself against identity theft is to be very careful with whom you share your information. These various types of identity theft and tips to prevent it from happening may help you to protect yourself.* Social Security CardDon’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. If your driver’s license, insurance card or any other card uses your Social Security number as a member number or identification number, request a different number.* Phishing EmailsWe have all received the “phishing” scam emails and some seem very realistic. Don’t fall for it. If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank, stores you patronize, government agencies or even personal people who want to “help” you or who have a “job offer,” forward the email with full headers to reportphishing@antiphishing.org. EmailAbuse.org also offers a variety of tips on how to protect yourself.* Your TrashIdentity thieves will gleefully to through your garbage for credit card offers, “convenience checks” and other pieces of mail that could reveal your personal information. Any documents that have personal information on them should be shredded before they ever make it to your trash can.* Phone CallsA fairly recent identity theft scam involves the scammer calling credit card holders, pretending to be the credit card company. They get all of your personal information and, bam! They have stolen your identity. If you receive such a call, get the person’s full name and phone number, then hang up and call the credit card company back using the customer service phone number that is printed on the back of your card to verify that the call was legitimate.* Your ComputerShopping online is quite safe – as long as you know how to protect yourself. Before you enter your credit card number, Social Security number or any other personal information, review the privacy policy, looking for ways that you can opt out of providing personal information. If there is not privacy policy posted on the site, you should shop somewhere else. If you do enter personal information, only do so on secure web pages. You can easily identify a secure web page because it will have “https” in the address bar and there will be a padlock symbol at the bottom of your browser window. Secure pages encrypt or scramble your information to protect it from hackers.* Your Bills and Bank StatementsAs soon as you receive your credit card bill and bank statements each month, open them and look over them very carefully. If you see any unauthorized charges or withdrawals, report them right away. Also, if your bills do not arrive on time, call to check because it could mean that someone has changed your information to hide charges that are fraudulent.The identity theft commercials on TV may be amusing, but if you find yourself as a victim of identity theft, I can guarantee it will be no laughing matter. Take the time to ensure you are protected now and implement those safeguards.

Credit Card Identity Theft Protection – Stop Credit Identity Theft From Happening To You – Identity Theft

Credit card identity theft protection, Stop credit identity theft from happening to you and protect your financial identity.As more and more financial transactions take place electronically, the number of people at risk of becoming victims of credit card identity theft increases as well. In today’s age, it is imperative that anyone with a bank account or credit card have some knowledge about credit identity theft. Becoming a victim of credit card identity theft can be devastating to your financial security, as well as your life. It is important to understand the methods criminals use to acquire your sensitive personal information to adequately protect yourself from this rapidly growing financial identity theft crime. Phishing is one popular means of gaining personal data. In this scam, the criminal sets up a legitimate looking website that captures information like account numbers, passwords, and loan information. Dumpster diving is also a common way for thieves to access your personal information. You should always shred sensitive items, like credit card statements, pre-approved offers, and bank statements, and avoid throwing sensitive papers, like mail or receipts, into public trash receptacles. There are other ways criminals can obtain your personal information and commit credit card identity theft, do it is also a good idea to keep an eye on your credit card statements and immediately report any questionable charges to your account holder’s fraud department. There are also various credit card protection organizations that will aid in monitoring your credit report. Placing their warning stickers on your cards may also help in preventing credit identity theft.How to Avoid Credit Card Identity TheftThe effects of financial identity theft can be quite harmful to a victim’s life and creates all sorts of problems. Staying active in your credit standings and credit card usage is one of the best ways to defend yourself from the crime of credit identity theft. There are a number of simple things you can do to protect your identity and your credit. Most importantly, remember to never give your credit card number to someone over the phone, unless you started the transaction. The businesses you patronize would not call you and request this type of sensitive information over the phone. While shopping online, ensure that you are using a secure website before entering your credit card number. The website address of a secure site always begins with https://. Emails that ask for login information or account numbers are usually scams, so never respond to these. Instead, forward them to the actual business’s fraud department. If you are using your credit cards in a standing store, keep the card in your sight any time you use it and keep all your receipts until you can shred them at home. Only carry the credit cards you plan to use and store the extras in a secure place. If you have several different cards, consider canceling a few so you minimize the chances of becoming a credit card identity theft victim. Remember to shred any cards you are no longer using. Fewer credit cards will also make it easier to monitor your monthly statements. Always sign the back of your credit cards and memorize your pin numbers and store them in a separate place. These credit card identity theft prevention tips are very easy to follow and will save you from all the headaches associated with credit identity theft.Watch out for e-mailsEmails that urge you to act immediately are often phishing scams and should be avoided. These emails usually attempt to alarm you about an account you own and will request your personal information when you log into their false website. The email may say your account has been violated and request you to change your password or may offer a free gift or special savings by logging into your account. Other common phishing emails claim your account must be updated or it will be closed. If you follow the actions requested in these emails, you will become another victim of credit card identity theft.Will Smart Credit Cards End Financial Identity Theft?Smart credit cards are not a new idea, but they are quite expensive to put into use. As chip technology continues to advance, it is more affordable for businesses and users to use these cards. All business systems will have to be updated for chip reading technology before Smart cards can be in wide use, but the cards can be locked with a four digit pin number to prevent credit card identity theft. These cards hold all sorts of information, including passwords and even shopping habits, but the data can be controlled by the card owner and the information seen by others can be limited. Smart credit cards will make a huge impact on the commonness of credit identity theft, but it will take time to come into use in most places.