Identifying theft is becoming a larger concern every passing
day. With information so readily available over the internet about where one is
born, what the names of family members are or what the city of birth is, anyone
can easily steal your money, open bank accounts on your name, take new loans in
your name, and absolutely do anything they like. There are always unscrupulous
people who will not hesitate to do such things, and in fact many people make a
regular business out of identity theft. So the onus is on you to be careful.
There are a few ways you can be careful.
Be conservative with information you post
online: This goes without saying, really. You should be careful what kind of
information you are posting on your Facebook pages etc, which are visible to
the general public. Your account should have rigorous privacy settings, and
even for something as simple as Gmail, it is suggested that you change your
passwords often, and sign out of all locations. You should definitely not enter
your email address, phone number or address. For date of birth, it is always
best to limit it so only contacts you have approved can see it.
Shred all private data: Use the shredder at your
office to destroy all important personal data that you may have. Passwords,
credit card statements, medical receipts, ATM statements, mortgage or bank
information should not be left lying around carelessly on your desk or in the
car where other people can see it easily. Even data that you store on your
flash drive or hard drive should be destroyed or removed. If you’re sharing
your flash drive with different people, you don’t want them to have access to
your data, which can be used for malicious purposes.
Safety with checks: When you’re signing a blank
check, do not sign it for anyone you meet. Try paying by cash most of the time
as this will save you the trouble of giving over information like your account
number etc to strangers. Remember that a check goes through many hands before
it is cleared, and anyone could have the wrong intent or be looking for
someone’s identity to steal.
Just like any other crime, you
should know that identity theft can be prevented if you are careful with yourself.
You should be aware that even people you know, as acquaintances, can be guilty
of this crime. This is why it is better to be wary and careful. If your
identity is stolen, contact the nearest police station at once and file a
report. It is a time consuming and harrowing process however, which can be
avoided by a little daily care.
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