Identity Theft Tips
Rules For ID Protection
These identity theft tips will give you the knowledge and power for ways to prevent identity theft and keep from becoming the next victim.
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America and continues to increase at alarming rates, with one reason, being the electronic world we find ourselves living in.
Because of this, we are no longer safe anywhere, at anytime. Our identity can be stolen through;
- credit cards
- medical files
- bank accounts
- debit cards
- cell phone camera
- work place
- Social Security Number
- drivers license
- online resumes
These are the most common areas hit by a thief intent on identity theft.
Here are some great identity theft tips to be aware of to combat the nightmare of becoming a victim to this life altering crime.
Identity Theft Tips And Rules
- Never carry your Social Security card with you. This is one of the prime targets a thief would love to get their hands on, as it literally gives them access to your life.
- Whenever you pay for purchases with a credit card, make sure you keep the card in site at all times. This will not give the person you handed the card to from "skimming" your card.
Skimming is the act of using a skimmer to illegally collect data from the
magnetic stripe of a credit, debit or ATM card.
This information, copied
onto another blank card's magnetic stripe, is then used by an identity
thief to make purchases or withdraw cash in the name of the actual
- Only carry the credit card needed for a particular purchase. Don't carry all your credit cards with you in your wallet or purse. This will limit the damage if stolen or lost.
- For security, keep a copy of the back and front of all your debit and credit cards. Include the customer service number.
- For any new credit cards you receive, sign and activate immediately.
- When returning a rental car, make sure you destroy the copy of the rental agreement.
- Never, ever, give your personal information over the phone, especially if the call was Not originated by you. If you don't know the person you are talking to, get a name and phone number and tell them you will call them back.
- A huge problem has emerged in the few years of having mail stolen out of people's mailboxes.
Thieves do this to gain access to personal information so they can steal your identity.
If possible, it is safer to have a P.O. Box at the post office, but if that isn't an option, make sure your mailbox has a secure lock and the box itself can't be easily stolen.
- Any pre-approved credit card applications received in the mail should not be used and destroyed.
You can easily remove yourself from marketing lists for all pre-approved credit cards by Opting-out.
Pre-approved credit card applications have a toll free number you can call at 1-888-567-8688 to opt out.
may opt out for 5 years, or permanently, and you may opt out at any
time. An automated system will walk you through the steps.
Go to stop junk mail
to learn more about protecting your identity from being stolen.
It's also important to sign up for the do not call list
. This will stop all those annoying calls from telemarketers.
More Identity Theft Tips
- Always use credit cards or travelers check when you go on vacation. It is too dangerous to bring your checkbook as all your personal information is right there for anyone to use illegally.
- Pay your bills online. If possible, mail your bills with checks from the post office. Don't leave checks in your mailbox.
- Always check your bank statements, credit card bills, utility bills and any accounts from a brokerage firm on a monthly basis (at minimum) for any irregularities.
- Check you credit report on a yearly basis (minimum). There are 3 credit bureaus and I check out one credit report from one of the bureaus every 4 months. I find this cover's the whole year, spread out and is easier to catch something criminal going on.
I also have Identity Theft Protection service through my bank that is alerted to anything unusual, but this does not discount the fact that I check my bank accounts every day and my credit card statements frequently.
- Also, check your Social Security Statement on an annual basis.
- Don't download files coming from anyone you don't know.
- To protect yourself from hackers, don't store any personal information on your laptop computer.
- Make sure you update and use anti-virus software.
- You need to also set up a firewall on your computer.
- Any time you get rid of your computer make sure you erase the hard drive before doing so.
There have been reports that people have had their identity stolen because they have left personal information on the hard drive.
- Don't use ATM's that are privately owned.
- Don't store passwords that are used consistently. Enter them every time you go to site.
- Find out what the policy for protection of your information is for any business that has your personal information.
- Always lock your car and never leave your purse, wallet, mail or any other items that are personal, or you don't want stolen in your car.
My father (who was in law enforcement) always said, "Out of sight, is out of mind". How true that saying is!
- Shred! Shred! Shred! I shred absolutely anything that has my name, address and any other personal information.
Don't forget the inserts of catalogs or other info you receive that has your name or other personal information. Sometimes people forget about the "hidden" places.
Please make sure you implement these identity theft tips. I know it takes time out of your busy day, but in the end it can save you much heartache, time, and money, not to mention all the stress involved if you become the next victim.
Identity Theft Tips If Victim
This is a list of the steps to take if you find that you have become a victim of identity theft.
- Report the crime to your local authorities in the area where you live and where the fraud happened. It's important to have a police report file ID number, or case number.
Use the ID Theft Affidavit from the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf
- Immediately report the identity theft to all 3 credit bureaus. Have each credit agency place a fraud alert on your file.
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, Ca 92634-6790
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Ga 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9530
Also see credit freeze for more information on how to go about taking this step in your fight to clear up your case of identity theft.
- Close all credit card accounts, inform them your identity was stolen, and get new cards with new numbers.
- For all your new accounts, set up new passwords.
- Make sure you change your PIN number on accounts that have them. Changing just the account number is not secure enough.
- When you close your accounts make sure you tell the credit bureaus the accounts were closed due to identity theft.
- Ask the creditor's to notify the 3 credit bureaus to delete any and all fraudulent information from your files.
- If your bank accounts were involved, immediately notify your bank, close the accounts, get new cards or checking accounts and make sure you change your PIN number.
- Notify all the check verification companies and ask them not to accept checks from your old checking accounts that were closed at your request due to identity theft.
Very seldom do we have to contact these check verification companies, but in the event of your id being compromised these identity theft tips below will be worth their weight in gold.
International Check Services (ICS)
Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN)
National Processing Company
Capital Recovery Associates (CRA)
- Ask all the creditors who have tainted accounts in your name to open a fraud investigation. Make sure you receive a copy of the investigation when it's complete.
- Send a copy of the completed investigation to the 3 credit bureaus and ask that all fraudulent information be deleted from your files.
- If you find that fraudulent information is on any of your credit reports, immediately notify each one and tell them you are disputing the information in question and again ask them to remove the fraudulent items in question.
Please go to documenting your identity theft case for more step by step help you need to implement in getting your life back on track.
I hope my identity theft tips have helped in your fight to stay safe and secure from becoming the next victim of identity theft, and if you have had this nightmare happen to you, that my information will help in your quest to get your identity back. Knowledge is power!
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