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How to Prevent Identity Theft

Mar 26, 2008
Identity theft is the fastest growing white collar crime in the world. It involves a person illegally using another person's identity to gain financial advantage or commit a crime. The most common form of identity theft is credit card fraud where a person applies for a credit card under another person's name and begins using it.

How Identity Thieves Work

* Obtaining personal information from stealing mail or going through your trash.

* From the database of old computers that have been thrown away or files carelessly disposed of.

* Locating information from public records, government websites or registries.

* From lost or stolen wallets or handbags.

* Using a card reader to "skim" a credit card and remove the information that is on the magnetic strip of the card.

* Stealing information from a computer via the internet.

* Pretending to be an employee of a trusted agency and asking for personal data.

* Skimming information from people's personal pages on MySpace and Facebook.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Preventing identity theft can be simple.

* Shred or tear up personal mail and papers before throwing them out. This includes credit card offers, bank account details and tax return information.

* Do not give out your personal information in replies to unsolicited emails or to emails asking for financial data.

* Keep your credit card in your sight when paying for bills to avoid someone taking the few seconds to put your card through a card reader in order to steal your credit card data.

* Do not give out personal information over the phone, no matter who they say they are.

There are many other simple ways that will help prevent identity theft. Being conscious of your personal information and belongings is a first step in the right direction. There are also identity theft prevention services available that can protect your personal records from as little as $10 a month.
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