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Each year, approximately 10% of United States citizens are victimized by identity theft.
In 2016 there were 15.4 million victims in the United States alone.
This week's blog will center around ID Theft and how to prevent it.
HOW DOES IT OCCUR?
ID Theft occurs when an unwanted person obtains access to your personal information, including; full name, date of birth, social security number, etc. It can happen numerous different ways, but there are three common scams associated with ID Theft that we will talk about today (links contain additional info).
Mail and other deliveries that are not properly secured can be a gold mine for unsavory characters to access your information. You should use a locking mailbox or get a P.O. Box to help ensure that your confidential information is not accessed in this manner.
If your mail is stolen, be sure to report it to the post office right away.
Another way criminals attempt to access personally identifiable information is by making phone calls. These calls can take on many different forms. Sometimes they pretend to be representatives of legitimate businesses. Other times they come up with schemes such as claiming that the potential victim is eligible for a cash payout or other type of prize. Be wary of any unsolicited phone calls.
Many people have discovered how convenient online shopping can be. Unfortunately, without proper safeguards, it also makes stealing your ID very convenient for criminals. Some people mistakenly believe that using a debit card and a credit card online are the same thing. The difference is in what they are accessing. While credit cards access a line of credit that the bank can stop and reverse, debit cards access your actual money in the bank. Therefore, when a debit card gets used fraudulently, undoing the mess can be a lengthy and financially cumbersome process. So how can you enjoy a safe online shopping experience? Take the following steps:
Never use a public computer to enter personal or financial information.
Make sure that your anti-virus and firewall are up-to-date and active.
Use a credit card NOT A DEBIT CARD for online purchases.
Following these precautions will help to significantly reduce the vulnerability of your identity.