Identity Theft: Escaping the Bubble (Part 2)
How do you prevent Identity theft?
Below are some tips to help you prevent Identity theft and fraud:
Increase Your Digital Security:
- Protect your Computer; Many identity thieves now use complex software such as spyware and key loggers to obtain sensitive information such as passwords and login details without the user's knowledge. Just because you can't see anything wrong with your computer doesn't mean that it is safe to use. Get a reliable and updated antivirus and firewall software.
- Do not disclose your personal details online or on social networks.
- Choose strong passwords and PINs: Do not use the same password for all your accounts, avoid easily guessed PINs like date of birth, phone numbers, digits of your social security number (for US residents), do not store passwords or sensitive information on your computer, if you must store information electronically make us of a CD or an external hard drive that is only attached to the computer for offline backups, turn off your internet connection when making backups.
- Beware of Phishing scams: Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication, Phishing involves seemingly harmless emails being sent to you, asking you to verify certain things such as passwords, account numbers or credit/social security details. Any email seeking this sort of information should be an immediate red flag for you.
- If and When you decide to get rid or sell your computer, tablet or phone, make sure you wipe your devices clean. Restore your devices to factory settings before handing it over. Information deleted from a hard drive can always be recovered by criminals.
- If you receive a request from a friend or family member stranded while on holiday asking you to transfer money to them, contact them by phone or alternative contact to verify the request is genuine before sending any money or providing personal details
- Be careful when shopping online: Always check the security symbols when using an online site for shopping, If the lock icon encryption is not there, do not give out credit details. Keep a separate credit/debit card just for online purchases, do not store information on any store's website. it may be convenient but your information becomes available if the site is hacked.
- Never answer unsolicited or unwanted emails: Avoid opening emails that don't make sense to you or that come from people or organizations that you don't recognize, a legitimate bank or financial institution will NEVER email you asking you to follow a link or asking you for personal details. If you believe the email is genuine, telephone your bank or financial institution to let them know about the email and ask their advice. DO NOT call using any telephone number listed in the email—use a number that appears on your statement or card or in the telephone book. Many banks and financial institutions now have specialized internet security staff who can help you.
- Always watch your back when using an ATM machine or making payment via the POS in a supermarket. Make sure no one is hovering over you and can see you enter your password.
- Only carry essential documents with you/Protect your Wallet: Not carrying extra credit/debit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport with you outside the house can help you prevent identity theft. On the backs of your credit/debit cards, write "photo ID required" in place of the signature. If your credit cards are stolen, it will be more difficult for a thief to make purchases. Photocopy everything in your wallet, including credit card numbers and the contact numbers of the issuers, and store this information in a secure location. If your wallet is lost or stolen, all the information you'll need to cancel your credit cards will be readily accessible. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet, and avoid using your SSN as a personal identifier if at all possible.
- Protect Deceased Relatives: It's a sad fact of life that even the dead are not immune to identity theft. When a loved one passes away, obtain a dozen copies of the official death certificate, and notify all financial institutions, insurance companies, credit card companies, loan holders, etc. Be sure to remove the deceased relative's name from all joint accounts
- Be careful when giving out personal information over the phone: Never provide personal information over the phone if you did not initiate the call.
- Protect your Trash: shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, returned checks and any other sensitive information before throwing it away. when you discard of old credit cards, be sure to destroy them completely first
- Protect your Mail: The mail transports millions of pieces of personal information every day and is one of the most common sites for identity theft activity, cancel mail delivery when you go on vacation, if you have a mailbox that others can access easily check your mail frequently so no one gets to it before you do.
- Regularly check your credit card and/or bank statements to ensure that suspicious transactions are detected
If you are a Victim.
- Contact the Police, file a report.
- Contact your bank/credit providers immediately and have your cards and any lines of credit cancelled
- Change all your passwords
http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Identity-Theft, http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/how-to-prevent-identity-theft.page (Transunion)
Identity theft Resource Center (itrc) http://www.idtheftcenter.org/Protect-yourself/id-theft-prevention-tips.html
National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) http://www.ncpc.org/topics/fraud-and-identity-theft/tips-to-prevent-identity-theft
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/statistics_statistics.html
The Economic Times http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-01-28/news/30673704_1_identity-theft-cyber-crime-bank-statements
Tech 2: http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/identity-theft-a-reality-in-india-24604.html
Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/identity-theft-fraud-statistics/
National Criminal Justice Reference Service-https://www.ncjrs.gov/spotlight/identity_theft/facts.html
iol News: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/identity-theft-costing-sa-millions-1.403125#.VCUpG75xufQ