Tips to Avoid Indentity Theft

Original content by | Posted August 10, 2011 in Financial Advice

One of the threats that most people face today is that of identity theft and it can end up with disastrous results for the person whose identity has been stolen. Not only could there be financial loss but also there is a chance of getting involved in unwarranted litigations as well. According to the reports of Federal Trade Commission or FTC, identity theft was the topmost fraud complaint during 2008 and 2009.

Strange Fact

However, identity theft does not occur as much online as you may think. It may sound strange but is surprisingly: Javelin Strategy and Research Center came out with the report that around 43% of identity theft takes place offline and is committed by persons known to the victim.

How Identity Theft is Committed

How Identity Theft is Committed

Knowing how identity theft is committed will help you prevent it.

  • All that an identity thief requires is the social security number of the victim.
  • They can steal credit card payments and outgoing mail from the mailboxes.
  • Garbage cans are dug to find out cancelled checks.
  • Thieves hack into computers containing personal record and data.
  • File change of address in victim's name to gather data.

Useful Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

So here are a few useful tips to prevent identity theft.

  • Always keep your Social Security number secret.
  • Passwords should never be written or carried along but should be kept in memory only.
  • Do not use ATM machine in presence of others.
  • Avoid payments of check or money orders in online transactions. Instead use the credit or debit card so that in case of non-receipt of the merchandise it can be challenged.
  • Develop a cynical attitude towards prize offers and giveaways. They may be scams.
  • No personal information should be given to anyone.
  • Do not fall prey to publicity gimmicks.
  • Access of children to computer and internet should be monitored by adults.
  • Never Give Away Your PIN!!!

    Yes, three exclamation points! Do not give away the PIN number of your credit card or debit card, especially not online. Generally, you will not be able to initiate a chargeback if a PIN number was used. Letting someone get ahold of your PIN is like going to the bank, withdrawing all the cash you can even if that means overdrafting, and then handing that cash over to a stranger and trusting them with it. You can almost always use your debit card as a credit card to make purchases and thus not need the PIN, and using a PIN with your credit card is not needed.

    Do you have any questions about avoiding identity theft? Or do you have any of your own tips about preventing identity theft? Please post your questions and comments in the Business and Finances section of our forums!

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