TIPS TO PREVENT IDENTITY FRAUD
Jay Pillai, Ph.D. Posted on June 24, 2015
It is easy to steal information that can be leveraged into a stolen identity. Simple, easy to come by information such as the following is all that is needed – your name, birth date and address plus information such as your dog’s name or your mother’s maiden name, the school you first attended is all that is needed for someone to impersonate you to get loans, credit or make purchases in your name. You may think that personal information is hard to come by, but frequently, enterprising crooks call up the victim and spin a yarn and all details tumble out without a second thought. Never share personal information over the phone and even your children should be taught this.
Protect your PIN & Credit/Debit card numbers
Whenever you have to enter your PIN or credit card number, shield it from anyone standing in the vicinity. Also make sure that no cameras are surreptitiously recording the transaction. In case you suspect the data has been breached, immediately change your PIN and inform your credit card company/bank of your suspicions.
Photo ID Verification
In addition to signing the back of your credit card, write in bold letters “See Photo ID”. It is true that most store clerks do not verify the signature or the thief can use the card online, but when they do check the signature you do get some protection and the thief may be challenged to prove the card is his.
Shred Discarded Private Information
One of the common ways in which an identity thief gets personal data is by going through trash. Most people throw out old credit cards, ATM receipts, bills, credit card statements plus other information without a second thought. Garbage is literally a gold mine for an identity thief. Invest in a shredder and shred everything before disposal.
Dispose of Digital Data in the correct manner
Just by deleting or reformatting a hard drive your previously stored data does not totally disappear. A computer expert can resurrect the data with ease. Therefore, before disposing of a computer make sure all data is electronically shredded to ensure it can never be mined and used. Similarly, when disposing of CD’s, DVDs, hard drives etc. you must ensure that the data is totally destroyed. You could physically destroy CD’s and DVDs into small pieces before disposal.
In case you are a victim of identity theft, what should you do?
• Take immediate action in case you suspect identity theft.
• Contact all affected parties and inform them that your identity has been stolen.
• If possible, change your password to a strong secure one.
• If you cannot log in because the password has been changed by the identity thief, contact the website’s technical support immediately.
• Check and verify other personal data for accuracy.
• Personal documents such as Passports, driving license, credit card etc. should be reported as lost as soon as the loss is discovered.
• Change your PIN immediately
• Check with credit agencies for any unusual entries.
• Inform the Postal service if you feel the theft has occurred in the mail.
• Inform your bank about the problem.
• You should also complain in writing to the local police station.
Identity theft is becoming common these days. A little bit of diligence can save you a lot of heartache, stress and time.
Categories: Credit and Debit Card, Data Security, Identity Protection