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Tips to Protect from Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime that’s on the rise with the increasing use of the internet.

It’s easier than ever for thieves to steal a person’s personal information and use it for their own personal gain whether they are just too lazy to get a job, or they were just released from jail. With so many different forms of identity theft available, it’s easy. Thieves can take a person’s Social Security Number, their name and address, and even their credit card information. There are so many ways to gain this information it’s not uncommon to find a person’s personal information has been compromised whether on their own or because of a third party. If you or a loved one have been charged with identity theft, you should contact a good bail bondsman.

People have to learn to protect themselves and their personal information from hackers and thieves, and it’s not always that easy. When a company uses a third party storage system to keep personal information, it’s nearly impossible for a person to protect that information. However, it’s entirely possible for people to protect their own information in the most basic manner. Identity theft causes financial strain, ruins credit scores, and can cost the victim thousands of dollars and years of headaches.

How Can Identity Thieves Use A Person’s Personal Information?

Thieves can do any number of different things after stealing someone’s identity. Some of the most common things people find happens to them following theft of their personal information include the following:

– Open credit card accounts they did not open themselves
– Bad checks written in their names
– Bank accounts opened using their personal information
– Tax returns filed in their name
– Utility accounts opened in their name

In some cases, identity thieves use the information they steal from others to begin a new life. They might open credit cards, get a job, and even apply for a rental house or apartment using someone else’s personal information. It’s not always as simple as a call from a credit card company informing a person that their card usage was flagged, alerting them to the fact their information was stolen.

How Does Identity Theft Occur?

Thieves work differently from one another. This means there is no way to predict how a person’s identity could be stolen. Some of the most common methods occur all over the world, but there are a myriad of different manners thieves might use to take a person’s information.

– Stealing wallets or handbags
– Using credit card skimmers at gas pumps and restaurants to read personal information
– Checking over shoulders at ATMs
– Stealing mail from mailboxes
– Stealing credit card and personal information from trash cans
– Phishing using the name of a reputable company to send people false emails or phone calls asking for personal information
– Going through a person’s personal belongings at home or in a hotel room or office

How to Prevent Identity Theft 

Since there is no way to tell how a thief might obtain the information they need to steal someone’s identity, the best thing the general public can do is protect their information closely. This is something everyone should do regularly, but it seems not everyone is as careful as they should be on a regular basis.
1. Create and Change Passwords Regularly – the best way to protect a person’s identity online is to create strong passwords that aren’t easy to crack. This means people should not use important dates or names, easy to remember numbers, or even the same password for more than one website. People should change passwords every few weeks for safety purposes.
2. Keep Personal Information Off the Internet – It might not seem like a big deal to many, but even just a photo of them in their house with the numbers on the house can provide a thief with enough information to steal their identity. Keep all personal information off social media.
3. Don’t Carry Personal Information – The worst thing a person can do is carry their Social Security Card around with them. They need to put it in a safe place, such as safety deposit box or a safe at home. They should not leave this information in the open at home, either.
4. Never Provide Anyone with Personal Information – Many thieves make phone calls using scare tactics to get people to give them their personal information. The best way to handle this is to ask for a call-back number and an extension, hang up, and then check to see the information is accurate. It’s also important to remember that no reputable company ever asks for a person’s personal information via email or over the phone. The IRS, banks and other reputable financial institutions never ask for this information online.

Other helpful ways to avoid identity theft are to put mail directly into a post office box rather than a personal mailbox with the flag up, don’t use standing ATMs, and shred all important documents. People should regularly monitor their credit reports, too. Anyone who finds their information has been stolen needs to first contact their credit card companies to cancel all cards, call the credit bureaus to place a freeze on their credit, and call the police to file a report.

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