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Dealing With Identity Theft

Jun 11, 2008
Identity theft is the nation's fastest growing-crime. This is a criminal offense wherein a fraudster steals the identity of another person and gets other benefits from it. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, this crime is sub-divided into four categories, these are: (1) financial identity theft is when someone uses another's identity to obtain goods and services; (2) criminal identity theft is when someone uses another's identity when apprehended for a crime; (3) identity cloning is when someone uses another's personal information to assume his or her daily life; and, (4) business/commercial identity theft is using another's business name to obtain credit.

Criminals use a variety of high or low tech tactics to obtain personal information or documents like business record theft. This is when they get data from businesses and institutions by stealing files, bribing an employee who has access to your files or hacking into the computer databases. Another is shoulder surfing. This is when a criminal eavesdrop on their victim's public transactions. Identity thieves can memorize your name, address and phone number easily when you are writing on your check or they can stand near a public phone to see you punch in your phone or credit card numbers. Identity thieves can also use dumpster diving. They are stealing your mails and rummaging through your trash or businesses trash to get your personal data. Another way to get your data is skimming. Criminals steal your credit card numbers as it is being processed in a restaurant, store, or other establishments.

Now that over 9 million people became victims of this crime, government authorities and other concerned companies have established systems to protect citizens from identity theft. On the other hand, here are also tips to protect you from identity theft: 1. Immediately report lost or stolen credit cards. 2. If you applied for a credit card and did not receive it on the given time frame, report it to the financial institution. 3. Once you receive your new credit cards sign them immediately. 4. Always memorize your password and social security number; never use your date of birth as your password. 5. Leave your social security number and birth certificate on a secured place. 6. Be aware in using your account numbers on websites, make certain that the website is secured. 7. Expiration date for credit card should be monitored closely and if replacement card did not arrived prior to the expiration date, call the financial institution. 8. Do not give out immediately your account information to callers who pretend to be telemarketers and be conscious of the mail solicitations that will request your financial account numbers. 9. Always check your credit card statements and make sure that it matches with your receipts. 10. Keep track on your monthly billing statements and once you do not receive them call the sender.

As the world embraces the change for the future, these identity thieves educate themselves more for new technologies and means to victimize a lot more people because of their selfish desire. And to quote Chairman for Federal Trade Commission Deborah Platt Majoras: "Everyone needs to be conscious that identity theft is real... No one is immune, which isn't to say, that we're powerless. There's a lot we can do to deter, detect, and defend ourselves."
About the Author
In today's world, just monitoring your credit isn't enough. To learn more about how you can protect your identity visit LifeLock Sentry (http://www.lifelocksentry.com/). Zak Rowe is a freelance writer for LifeLock Sentry.
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