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The number of identity theft cases is growing and it is more important than ever to prevent identity theft using effective privacy tips and stealth privacy techniques. For some people, it’s a nuisance. For others, it’s a nightmare. The Federal Trade Commission describes identity theft as “occurring when somebody uses your personally identifying information, like your credit card number or name, in order to commit fraud without your permission”.
PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT
Here are the privacy tips and steps you need to take in order to prevent identity theft from happening to you:
Review your credit card statements and bank statements regularly. Ideally, you should check all of your accounts once a day. The earlier you catch a problem, the easier it will be to solve it. Carefully look over each statement to see if you can find any strange charges. Sometimes thieves start out small, hoping you won’t notice.
Check your credit reports on a regular basis. One free service that reports your credit score is Credit Karma. There are three credit bureaus in the US: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Check all of three of them at least three or four times a year. Look over them carefully to spot any errors.
Secure personal information online. You can use Dropbox and TrueCrypt to store information securely in the cloud. Always log out of your banking accounts. Make sure you have all of the latest anti-virus and spyware removal software. Avoid phishing emails. If you’re not for sure whether an email is really from a legitimate company, enter the address to the company manually in the web browser to check. Never click on a link from a potential phishing email.
Secure personal information offline. Don’t take your social security card with you everywhere you go. You never know when it might get stolen. Keep all of your important documents hidden. If you ever need to get rid of them, put them through the paper shredder.
Make sure other people are keeping your information safe. This includes your bank, credit card companies, landlord or lady, hospital, employer, and anybody else with access to your private information. Find out what kind of security measures they are taking to protect your information and prevent identity theft.
Password-protect your mobile devices such as cell phones and laptops. Make it so that nobody can access ANYTHING without entering your password. A lot of laptops these days even come with fingerprint identification software.
WHAT AN IDENTITY THEFT VICTIM SHOULD DO
Despite your best efforts, you can still never be 100% safe. If you ever do experience identity theft, here are the steps you can take to recover from it:
If you ever notice an unauthorized transaction on any of your financial accounts, call the company to report it. Financial institutions have strong consumer protections in place. They can investigate the transaction and you might be able to get your money back.
If, after reporting the error, you determine that fraud really has occurred, place a fraud alert with Experian, Equifax, or Transunion. They are required to share the fraud alert with the other two bureaus.
File reports with the local police department and the trade commission. You will definitely need to file a report with the police if your wallet or purse has been stolen. Make copies of all of the reports.
Close out any credit cards that might be at risk. At the very least, request a new number and card. If the creditor offers it, file an extended fraud alert. This lasts for seven years. That way, potential creditors in the future will take extra steps to verify your identity. This will make it more difficult for thieves to open accounts in your name.
Depending on the severity of the problem, you might want to request a credit freeze. The rules for this vary from state to state.
As long as you follow all of these privacy tips, you’ll be better protected than most people. Knowing what to do ahead of time will help you reduce the amount of financial loss you will experience should your identity ever be stolen.
These privacy techniques you can implement in order to prevent identity theft are very helpful. Keep these privacy tips in mind and remember: ALWAYS go above and beyond the norm to protect your personal information by implementing stealth privacy tactics from How To Vanish The Book or The Mini-Guide To Personal Privacy.