In 2006, an estimated 9 million Americans have been victims of Identity Theft. Today, as more and more people use the internet for banking and shopping, consumers are strongly warned not to let their guard down against scammers and thieves. How can you protect yourself? Here are tips:
1) Get a copy of your credit report. Consumers can get one free copy of credit report each year by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. This website is supported by the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion). Check report for any errors or unauthorized charges. In case you found any error, get in touch with the bureau that issued your report and request for an investigation.
2) Make your PIN codes unique. When setting a PIN code or password, do not use birthdays or any detail that can be found in your personal information. Choose a PIN code that cannot be easily guessed by anyone. Make it unique yet easy for you to remember.
3) Do not provide your personal information. If you receive a phone call claiming to be from your bank, the BIR or a government agency, and you are asked to provide personal information, stop the conversation right away. You should not be required to give away personal details in this manner.
4) Use filters online. If you have a computer, invest on a reliable anti-virus program. You can find anti-virus programs that also come with anti-spyware and phishing filter. Identity thieves often use phishing websites to trick unsuspecting victims. A user may think that he/she is using a safe website without realizing that it is a fake one.
5) Regularly check your bills. Check your monthly billing statements or access your account online regularly. If you do not receive your bill through mail on time, call your issuer right away.
6) Dispose your credit card receipts and bills correctly. Do not throw away bills, old credit cards and banking statements in the trash without first shredding them into small pieces.
7) Do not give out your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. Some merchants ask their customer to provide their SSN for Identity verification. You may request the company you are dealing with to give you another piece of identifying information instead of your SSN.
8 ) Check the security of the website. The URL of a secured website must always begin with https://. You should also see a locked icon at the bottom right corner of your browser.
9) Do not write your personal information in pieces of paper. Never write your personal details and passwords on sheets of paper that can easily get misplaced or thrown in the trash. Use a log book and keep it in a safe storage.
10) Keep an eye on your credit card. When paying with your credit card, do not let it out of your site. When eating at restaurants take your credit card to the cashier and make the payment yourself instead of handing it out to the waiter. Phishing devices are often small enough to be hidden in the palm of a hand. These gadgets can scan your credit card information in just a matter of seconds.
About the Author:
Suzy Vanstrusen is a credit analyst and a writer on the website EZCreditRepairSolutions.com. She has been providing consumers with tips and wise information about credit repair as well as helping you out more with your bad credit loans. Copyright © 2010