During this time last year, major retail stores were hit with huge data breaches. It negatively affected the Christmas shopping season and still is having an impact today. You’ve probably received updated cards with the microchips in them. This means your bank is taking more security measures to make sure you are protected. That being said though, you could still become a victim of fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission ranks identity theft as the number one type of fraud committed in 2008. Another study in 2009, by Javelin Strategy and Research reported that most identity theft crimes were taking place offline. The study also found that 43 percent of identity thefts committed were by someone the victim knew.
So how do identity thieves commit their crime?
There are multiple ways identity theft can occur and it’s pretty simple. They only need your Social Security number. See the list below on ways theft can occur:
- Stolen Credit Card Payments & Other Outgoing Mail
- Digging through Garbage for Cancelled Checks, Credit Card & Bank Statements, Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
- Hacking into Computers Both Personal and Public to Steal Personal Records
- Filing a Change in Address in the Victim’s Name – Allows them to gather personal and financial data
Tips on How to Protect Yourself
So the questions starts getting asked…”How can I really protect myself from Identity Theft?” Follow some of these tips to do everything you can to protect yourself and your family.
- Never Give Out Your Social Security Number
- Commit All Passwords to Memory – Do not write them down or carry them with you
- When Entering a Bank Pin or Using and ATM, Make Sure No One is Hovering – They can easily look to see what you are entering in
- Practice Paying as Directly as Possible – Avoid checks and money orders
- Practice Healthy Skepticism – This holds true when someone is offering prizes or giveaways
- Use Parental Control Features on Web Browsers and Other Devices
- Tips for Children
- Tell them to never give out their address, telephone number, passwords, school name, etc.
- Tell them to never meet with someone face-to-face they’ve met online unless discussing with you first
- Tell them to not respond to messages with bad words, are scary, or weird
- Tell them to never charge something without asking you first
- Tell them to never send a picture of themselves to someone without asking you first
- Monitor their online activities