In order to protect yourself from identity theft, you need to know what it is and how it happens. This is modern crime masked with a big smile by the stranger approaching you in the street. Or it happens in broad day light in your front yard. You go out to get your mail and the mailbox lock is broken. Identity theft is fraud. It’s the way to commit crime whether online or not and blame the victim. Although this type of fraud is not new, the digital world makes it so much easier. So there is no doubt that most identity thefts occur on internet but they are as easy to happen in the street too. Don’t lose the piece of paper where you wrote the door lock password and have a friend pick your mail when you go out of town, especially if you receive sensitive info. So let’s see what identity theft is and how to avoid it.
What is identity theft?
It’s also known as identity fraud. It’s defined as a crime against an individual by stealing or illegally obtaining his/her personal information and banking data and using it for criminal activities and financial gain.
So what happens in real terms? A person, who has stolen your identity, can impersonate you and thus get a loan, withdraw money from your bank account, get medical assistance, or even sell your personal data to other criminals. It doesn’t sound good. Does it?
Since knowledge is power, it’s best to have awareness about the subject so that you will be able to recognize signs that may indicate your identity is stolen. Which are the signs?
- Your bank account is emptied
- You didn’t receive bills or bank statements via mail as usual
- You notice anything different in your relation with your bank
- You are billed with products you didn’t order
- Your tax return is turned down
- You notice small amounts missing from your bank account
Identity theft: How to protect yourself from being victimized
It might sound odd but call your locksmith to replace your mailbox lock. Many identity theft cases have happened when the criminals gained access to their victims’ mailbox and thus their mail and thus their personal data. In fact, mailbox lock replacement becomes urgent if you receive important bank or other statements where sensitive information is enclosed and surely when the lock is old, rusty and hence easy to break.
Locksmiths can always help with such matters but you need to take extra precautions yourself. For example, never give personal information to anyone. Don’t forget that this type of criminals often appear as the kindest of people and willing to help you carry bags in your car etc. That’s all nice but no need for you to reveal info that will help them commit fraud. The same way you would protect yourself in the natural environment, also do in the virtual world and never provide sensitive info online.
If by any chance, you have installed digital high security door locks, don’t ever share your personal code with anyone else. Not even friends. And if you do accidentally, change the code right away. Needless to say that you must pay attention when enter passwords either when you open your door or at the ATM. If you keep sensitive documents at home, get a safe. And if you ever suspect anything wrong with your bank account or mail, it’s vital that you report it to the police. Identity theft is a federal crime. Don’t be part of the stats. Take precaution today.