Each year approximately 15 million Americans become victims of identity
theft. Identitytheft can manifest itself in a number ways, the most popular methods of acquiring
information include dumpster diving, mail theft, stolen wallets, and data
breaches. Stolen identities may sometimes be crimes of opportunity, when
we leave our personal belongings vulnerable to outsiders, it becomes very
easy for someone to take advantage of these openings. Although there are
some circumstances where identity theft is unavoidable(company data breaches)
there are precautions one can take in order to avoid dealing with the
ramifications of a stolen identity.
- Properly destroying and discarding mail that contains personal information
Bank statements, promotional credit cards, and tax forms are examples of
common documents that offer a tempting opportunity for someone to falsely
impersonate you. When you receive these forms in the mail it is crucial
that you destroy these documents before you discard them. Cutting up unwanted
credit cards, investing in a paper shredder are simple and effortless
ways to avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud.
2. Password Management
If you have the same or a similar password for one account , then it becomes
extremely easy for someone to hack your password and gather information
from your other accounts. For tech savvy individuals who are skilled at
computer hacking identical passwords become their goldmine and your nightmare.
As soon as someone gets a hold of your password they can impersonate you
from your Twitter account and also clear out your bank account in fatal
swoop. There are existing websites and applications that can help you
maintain the security of your accounts by issuing you unique passwords
while managing all of your passwords so you can easily refer to them.
3. Be mindful of your surroundings
When withdrawing money from an ATM or surfing the web at a cybercafe be
mindful and hyper-aware of your immediate surroundings. Shoulder surfers
are always on the prowl ready prepared to pounce on unsuspecting prey.
Shoulder surfers carefully observe people as they enter their pin into
an ATM or as they type in a password at a cafe in order to use this information
for their benefit. Preventive measures can be taken in order to fend off
shoulder surfing such as blocking the information on ATM screens with
your body or free hand, framing your computer away from occupants of the
coffee shop, and refraining from surfing websites that contain private
information at cybercafes.
4. Frequently check your credit score and bank account statements
Keeping a watchful eye on your credit score or bank accounts allows you
to notice sudden changes or discrepancies. If it becomes the case that
someone has a hold of your personal information then it certainly helps
to know before they have a chance to clean out your accounts or destroy
your credit. An identity theft crisis are time sensitive situations, early
response and immediate action can make all the difference.
Identify fraud can be a difficult dilemma to deal with, but practicing
these simple steps can significantly reduce your chances of becoming one
of the 15 million Americans who fall victim to this crime.
Contact us at Kyle Law Firm if you find yourself a victim of identity theft.