Identity theft has become a huge problem in recent years. If you’re not aware of the new threats out there, your personal information could be compromised.
Most of us like to think of our personal information as personal, private and secured. However, that’s often not the case, particularly where the Internet is concerned. Identity theft has become an increasingly serious problem for everyone in the US (and around the world, really). There are many different ways that thieves can get at your personal information and steal your identity.
Email Scams â€“ This one seems to be as old as time itself. For a while there, it had died down a bit, but lately identity thieves intent on getting their grubby mitts on your personal information have revived this. We’re all familiar with the Nigerian prince emails saying we’re the heir to a huge fortune; thieves have changed their operations. The newest is simply an email asking if you received their previous message. When you reply, you’re caught. Don’t do it. If you don’t know the sender, delete the email. Never open attachments, especially from people you don’t know.
Trash Theft â€“ Identity theft is not (nor has it ever been) confined to the Internet alone. In fact, there may be a larger threat of identity theft in the real world. One of the ways that your information is put in danger here is from people digging through your garbage. You might not realize it, but every piece of paper and document you throw in the trash has the potential to give someone your personal information. This is particularly true in the case of bank statements, credit card statements and the like. Never assume that documents tossed in your home’s garbage can are safe from thieves. Always destroy documents that contain sensitive information.
Credit Card Information â€“ The practice of skimming has become more common than many people realize. In this situation, you use your credit card to pay for a real purchase. However, when the merchant runs your card, your information is stored so that they can access it later. Once they have that information, they can use it as they wish, without your knowing about it.
As you can see, there are many different threats out there to your personal information, both financial and identity-wise. Defend yourself from these threats by being a smart consumer. Always destroy your documents, never trust emails from people you don’t know and keep a close eye on your credit cards.