Steps To Prevent Identity Theft

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Identity theft is a crime that seems to be getting worse throughout the world. In past years, one could argue that this crime has been taken too lightly by people, generally assuming that it couldn’t happen to them. However, as the rates of identity theft continue to grow, more people now want to know the steps to prevent identity theft. This shows that people are taking it more seriously now then ever before. Identity theft really makes victims feel like their privacy has been invaded, despite the fact that the never personally encounter the thieves. Such a crime can cause damage to victims emotionally. It almost is the equivalent of a criminal coming into a home and vandalizing it.

Prevention involves first knowing what it is and how it happens. Then, it comes down to taking the necessary steps to prevent identity theft.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft involves one person stealing another’s personal information to benefit in some way, usually financially. This information could include a credit card or bank account number. The thief could use it buy products and services online where they don’t need to have the credit card in possession. Social security numbers sometimes get stolen, and the thief could use it to gain employment or sell it to illegal immigrants for them to use. In the most severe cases, a thief will commit a crime using the stolen identity. This of course often leads to the innocent victim being arrested.

How Does Identity theft Occur?

An identity can be stolen in any number of ways, some are rather basic while others are more advanced. Credit card theft, phishing scams, stealing documents, and hacking into databases are just several methods used by thieves.

Prevent Identity Theft

The most basic of steps to prevent identity theft is to not disclose personal information as much as possible.

Avoid giving out information such as passwords or account information unless absolutely necessary, you are the one responsible for protecting your identity.

When at an ATM, cover the keypad when entering your PIN number. When handing an person your credit card to make a payment, don’t allow them to take it out of your sight. Be cautious during transactions, as you never know if the person you are with could be a thief.

Important personal information should never be sent in an e-mail, as it’s not always secure. Only give personal details to a company when you call them. Be wary of anyone who calls you requesting account details.

Private documents should never be thrown away or lying around the house. They should either be stored or shredded.

These are just some of the steps to prevent identity theft. There are plenty of other precautions you can take as well, including signing up with a protection monitoring service so you can get alerts when someone is trying to steal your identity.

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