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You And Identity Theft

Mar 22, 2008
It was once said that crime never pays, but to the identity thief it can for a while anyway. This crime is linked to bank and financial fraud and can scam people out of thousands of dollars. In the beginning of the Internet, communication was not that widespread. It hampered criminal activity. Now that the Internet has grown into what it now is, it gives everyone the opportunity to reach a global market, including criminals.

For example, ever hear of the Nigerian 419 scam? It used to be a mail (I.E postal mail) scam that was used to trick thousands into thinking they were being offered a chance to make some easy money by helping some rich unfortunate smuggle large sums of money out of their country. The story varies some but it basically says the same thing. The letter recipient will get a portion of the proceeds for "helping" move the money. Now the Internet makes it easy for these scammers to send millions of e-mails a day. I average between 20 or 30 such e-mails a day.

This is not a new crime, it has actually been around for quite some time. The 'Net simply makes it easier for cybercriminals to find victims. In some cases of identity theft, the elderly are specifically targeted. Other victims are the illiterate and inexperienced Internet users.

Identity theft falls into two basic categories Financial Identity Theft and Criminal Identity Theft. The first is where victims have their identities stolen for the financial gain of the scammer, this can include bank fraud or credit card fraud. The second category is where criminals use another's identity to cover their tracks to prevent apprehension for a past crime.

This can also include terrorists. In some cases, identity theft can be linked to individuals who commit identity theft to assume an alibi or alias, commonly known as identity cloning and any business or commercial identity related thefts carried out to achieve financial goals.

While it is true, anyone can be a victim of this terrible crime, here are a few steps that can be taken to reduce your chances.

Remember to take care of all important financial documents. If you must make copies of any personal and financial documents, store them in a safe place. A bank security deposit box is one such place. Never share with anyone where you hide these documents.

Use a cross cut shredder to destroy old bills and account statements. This type of shredder is best as it prevents "dumpster divers" from reconstructing these documents and using them to steal your identity. This type of shredder is also good for destroying old credit cards.

Never share your personal information with anyone online. Not by instant message nor by e-mail.

Simply put, take care of your personal information and do not share it with anyone online, not even your friends. Keep all forms of id with you. Watch your mail for credit card applications and destroy them (via shredder) to prevent anyone else from using them if you have no interest in
About the Author
Ryan Smith is the author of the hot, new, blog "The 10 Commandments of ID Theft Protection" Learn more at http://www.e-profitsubmissions.com/wordpress
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