Anyone who?s new to credit use could ask, ?What is id theft?? Simply put, id theft is a white collar crime wherein an impostor steals your information to obtain services, rentals, loans, and credit. Even worse, the thief could even use your information in committing other crimes.
Personal identity theft is arguably the most overwhelming, frightening, and disheartening situation that could ever happen to anyone. You could be totally clueless about it for months, or even years. By the time you find out about it, your financial credibility would already be completely wiped out.
Id theft protection is needed to ensure your personal and financial safety. You could do this by personally checking your statements and reports. Participating actively in protecting your credit is a version of enhanced identity theft protection. Yes, you could hire a company to help you prevent further financial damages. However, you can do more when you assess everything first hand.
Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
Identity thieves are very resourceful criminals. They can get your information from dumpsters, your mail, or through the Internet. They could even pretend to be people that you trust just to convince you to give up your information. With the information they steal, they could leave your bank account totally drained, increase your credit card charges, undergo medical treatments, and open new accounts for utilities. With all these, you really need to know how to protect yourself from identity theft. The following are some easy ways on how to do this:
Invest in a cross cut shredder.
This gadget is very effective in destroying your documents before you dispose of them. Totally shredded receipts, checks, contracts, or statements can never be recovered even by the most patient of identity thieves. You can purchase this machine for about 60 to 70 USD.
Always cover the ATM keys while you enter your PIN.
There are skilled ?shoulder surfers? that skillfully look over your shoulder while you?re entering your PIN. Before you know it, your credit card is gone before you reach home or work. They could then easily drain your account because they already know your PIN. Take a final look behind you for any prying eyes before entering your PIN. Try your best to cover your hand while you enter your secret numbers.
Pick up your new checks from your bank.
Never have your checks delivered straight to your residential address. Again, thieves are at a ready at all times. They could easily intercept your mail and cash your checks.
Drop important or sensitive mail in the official US post office or mailbox.
Identity thieves could easily access your local mail slot and get all the information that they want. It?s safer for you to use the mailbox or the post office.
Check if you received your new credit card as scheduled.
It could have been easily reached an identity thief before it made it to your address. Clarify the date you received your new card.
Cancel cards that have rested for six months.
When thieves detect that you have open credit that you don?t use, they could easily access that and ruin your credit.
Never bring your Social Security card, birth certificate, and Medicare card in your wallet.
It?s safer for you to just photocopy them, keep them in your document vault, and bring the copies only when you have to.
Refrain from giving information to people who contact you first.
You aren?t obligated to give your sensitive information to any company representative through phone or through email. Unless you were the one who contacted the company, question the caller about the information that he wants.
Sign up for business cards and credit cards with your photo attached.
This would be the best form of identification. Your picture will verify that you?re indeed the owner of the card.
Limit what you share online.
Identity thieves love to check social networks because users these days post everything on their walls. Use your security option and control the data that others could see when they log in.
You can prevent identity theft on your own. Just take note of the practical tips given above and you will find yourself free from this form of white collar crime.