Since the dawn of the information age, more and more people are becoming victims of identity theft which often results in severe monetary losses and legal problems as well. For the most part, people think that they will never be victims of this crime but the truth is that it can happen to just about everybody.
Here are 4 things you need to know about identity theft and how you can protect yourself against it:
Just because it is trash to you does not mean it cannot be used to steal your identity and your financial information. Every time you throw a paid credit card bill or a pre-approved credit card offer in the trash, you put yourself at a higher risk of becoming a victim. Always remember that any piece of paper that has your name and financial information on it can be a weapon in the hands of thieves who will go to any length, including rooting through your garbage, to steal valuable data.
Shoppers quite often take out their credit cards or open their wallets way before their turn to pay for the items they bought. Just because they do not have your actual card does not mean thieves cannot use the number in order to steal from you. Always be wary of people who seem to be too close to you in the cashier line because there is a chance that they are trying to take a peek at your card information. Better yet, only take out your card when it is time to pay for your items.
If you pay, your utilities using the auto debit or auto credit function of your card, you should be worried. Scam experts can call the utility company pretending to be you and ask the customer service representative to read back the card information to them because “you” have forgotten which particular card you used to pay for the bill that month. While it sounds astounding, it actually happens a lot and the utility company does not even know it has become complicit in a serious crime.
A lot of people subscribe to certain services or products online and they pay with their credit card every month. You should never be too cavalier about this because your financial information can be easily stolen especially if you never check your security line of defense such as passwords and verification numbers. If possible, use Pay Pal or other online payment processing mediums to avoid getting ripped off.