The information age has brought numerous innovations and advancements to our daily routine. Cell phones, computers, and the Internet have made many of life’s challenges easier and more accessible. However, just like every other moment in our collective history, new advancements offer the opportunity for those who seek to harm you or steal from you to get at your money or your most private possessions, in this case, your identity. So what is Identity Theft?
What is Identity Theft
Identity theft is the process of someone using an identity that is not their own for any type of service, transaction, or notification. Sounds fancy huh? Let’s break it down. If someone pretends to be you in order to buy, sell, claim, announce, advertise, promote, or steal then they are committing identity theft. Identity theft is more than just someone who stole your password to your Yahoo e-mail; it is a frustrating experience that often leaves the victims feeling hopeless and clueless on how to regain their identity, not to mention how to protect their assets. They can use your identity to open up a phone account in your name, defame another individual, or the dreaded credit card account in your name.
Identifying Internet Phishing Scams
Internet phishing scams are one of the leading perpetrators of online identity theft. These scams usually come in the form of an official-looking email from a familiar financial institution or website that you may hold an account with, like eBay or PayPal. Inside the email, you will typically find a clickable link with a request asking you to confirm your account number or update your password. Clicking this link will take you to a website that closely resembles the website of the business the email claims to be from. If you enter your personal information into this cloned site, it will be sent directly to a thief and you will soon be another of the millions of victims of internet identity theft.
Prevention Tips for Identity Theft
Prevention Tip #1 – Never, I repeat never give your social security number to anyone unless it is an absolute emergency or is truly required to perform some function. Instead, only be willing to use the last four digits of your social security number as a means of verifying who you are. Many companies have now adopted this method as one means of verifying your identity.
Prevention Tip #2 – Always make sure to check your end of month bills, especially your credit card bills in order to spot any changes that may not have been placed by yourself. Additionally, make sure your bills actually arrive since many identity theft thieves are known to steal your mail in order to gain access to your personal information.
Prevention Tip #3 – Routinely order your credit report from one or all of the big three credit reporting agencies in order to check it for any errors or accounts that may have been opened or originated due to identity theft fraud. If you find a discrepancy on your credit report notify the respective credit bureau immediately in order to fix the problem and ensure that it was not a result of someone attempting to hijack your identity.
Some Additional Tips for Identity Theft Prevention
Prevention Tip #5 – Try to avoid giving out any of your personal information over the phone, in person or online if at all possible. One of the simplest ways to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft is to keep your private information private. Failure to do so can make you an easier target for someone to hijack your identity.
Prevention Tip #6 – Always make sure to shred any type of financial documents or paperwork that contains any of your personal information on it before throwing it away. This simple act, which can be done rather quickly and easily, will help to thwart any type of attempt on your identity by an identity theft thief. Don’t underestimate the power of safeguarding your personal information. It is your number one defense against preventing identity theft from happening to you or your loved ones.
Tips to Protect Yourself from Becoming a Victim of Computer Identity Theft
- Use good anti-spam, anti-adware, and anti-spyware programs on your computer. And, keep them running whenever the computer connects to the internet.
- Install a firewall.
- Avoid clicking on pop-up ads and never enter any personal information on the websites these ads lead to.
- Do not click on links in emails unless they are from a trusted sender.
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date and current.
- Stay informed and educated about the most recent computer identity theft trends and methods.
Identity theft is a terrible crime and major source of frustration for anyone to have to go through. Utilize these 6 tips on preventing identity theft to safeguard your own personal information. These simple but effective tips will help keep your information where it belongs, in the privacy of your own safekeeping. XA Technologies is the leading agency that provides the best anti-spam, anti-adware, and anti-spyware programs for absolute protection. The software is of sensible prices and use advanced protection algorithms. Thus, buy the software and protect yourself from identity theft and phishing scams.