Identity Theft Online and how to avoid it
Millions of people around the world are becoming victims of identity theft almost everyday. This is because most of them do not take the essential steps to protect themselves online. Nowadays, online and offline identity thefts are creating havoc in our lives. Some of the people believe that by not using a credit card over the internet or elsewhere, they can avoid being victimized by such crimes. This is not true, as your personal information can be accessed by the criminals from anywhere. Thus, what you’ll need to do is use proper measures to safeguard your personal details.
Being careless is also quite risky, assuming that nothing can happen to you. Hackers and crooks have different ways to access your information and the only way you’ll know is when you are in neck deep debt. Thus, it is suggested that you consult your financial advisor, who can guide you well, and avoid being in trouble by all means.
You can enjoy all the modern facilities by following some of the simple precautionary measures.
Social security number protection:
You could avoid carrying a social security card and also the other cards in order to protect your SSN (social security number).
How to deal with trash?
You need to always deal with papers containing your personal information carefully. Try to shred the papers that have your personal information, immediately after using them.
3 Ways to protect your postal mail:
You can protect your mail by using the letter slots at your post office to mail the letters.
Try to pick your mail as soon as possible from your mailbox after the delivery.
You could avoid sending cash by mail and you need to inform the post office to hold your mails until you return, whenever you go out of the station.
How to protect your personal information on PC?
You could always use the strongest passwords, which cannot be guessed easily.
Try to update firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus software regularly.
You could read all the terms and conditions carefully, before downloading a particular software.
Avoid downloading the software’s from the sites, which you are not accustomed to.
Never click on the links of pop up windows.
Safest ways to shop online:
Try to be cautious while choosing a website for online shopping. You could also prefer browser windows with padlock icons too, for online shopping. Never enter your credit card numbers on any other websites other than the above stated ones.
Check your bank statements and bills:
You could check your bank statements and bills regularly in order to find if any authorized withdrawals or charges have taken place. If your bills don’t arrive on time, immediately check your contact information, as there are chances for someone to make changes in your contact information, in order to hide the fraudulent charges.
You could always ask questions, if someone asks your personal information, which is not related to your transaction. Try to question them in which way your personal information would be useful for the transaction. Check whether your information will be shared with others, which is essential for your safety. If shared, just ask them in which way they will protect your personal information.
If the answers given by them are not reasonable, you could avoid giving them your personal information.
Cautiousness at ATM:
You need to be very cautious while using Automatic Teller Machines (ATM). If you find anything fishy about the ATM, then avoid using it. If you find someone unnaturally hanging around the ATM, then don’t use it.
Avoid giving your personal information through the mail and over the phone unless and until you know the person to whom you are speaking with. Hackers always pose as the members or representatives of the charity and as the government dealers in order to get your personal information, social security number and the account numbers.
Always be sure whether you are dealing with a legitimate organization or not before sharing your personal information. If you don’t have any idea about the organization, then you can check out the organization’s website. You can do this by typing the company’s URL in the address bar. You can also check by making a call to the customer service by using the number in the telephone book.
Never write your ATM PIN on any of your cards. You could always choose the PINs that are not a part of your date of birth, social security number and street address. Most of the identity thieves try to get your PIN by shoulder surfing at the ATMs. Be alert about the ATMs, which you generally use to draw the cash.
Never use your telephone number, driver’s license numbers and the social security number on the checks. Never leave any of your information lying around in your home. It is not that only strangers are behind these identity thefts, sometimes your friends as well as your relatives might also be responsible.
Try to keep all your check books, billing information and social security information in a secured place in your home. Nowadays, the internet has become a powerful tool for communicating, learning and sharing information. Besides, the above advantages, it is an excellent resource for the identity thieves to get all your personal information.
Most of the people provide their personal information on Facebook and twitter. After obtaining your personal information like your phone number, address etc, it is easy to get your credit card number and open a new credit in your name and shop online.
Hence, you should avoid giving your entire personal information on social networking sites, as at times it puts you at risk. Now-a-days most of the financial institutions are offering you SMS and email alerts online. These institutions will notify you even about a small transaction that has happened through your account.
These alerts will be very helpful to you in identifying the fraudulent transactions immediately. Follow the above instructions to make your life secure and safe.