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An Identity Theft Prevention Primer

Aug 18, 2007
Identity theft prevention has become more important than ever, with the whole world connecting through the internet like never before. The new convenience of online transactions taking place in the blink of an eye has lured people away from bank lineups to check their accounts or pay their bills. Before you log-on to pay your bills, you should consider a few things about identity theft prevention.

It becomes important for consumers to know the principles of identity fraud prevention, since the concept is tied so closely with theft prevention. The two ideas really go hand in hand.

So the question becomes: How much personal information can the average person find about him or herself online that can be damaging if it fell into the wrong hands?

When considering theft prevention and the personal information readily available via the internet, it may surprise some people to know that even the most essential statistics quickly arrive at a criminal's fingertips.

For example, sites like Anybirday give out, you guessed it, anyone's birthday. A birth date is a critical piece of information for people concerned with identity fraud prevention, since most thieves are looking for just this type of personal information to commit identity theft.

Other websites should be of concern for those trying to optimize identity theft prevention measures. Record search sites like Completed Detective and Find Someone can locate previous and current addresses with only a person's first and last name. Criminal and civil court records are available through public databases.

Of course, the biggest possibility for identity theft comes from online accounts. While the Internet Age has made it easier for us to do our banking and pay our bills, any online account has the potential to be compromised. These include:

* Bank Accounts
* Services like PayPal
* Accounts for your bill paying services.
* Individual accounts with online merchants

A poor practice of identity theft prevention is online accounts protected by a simple password or PIN (personal identification number), like your birthday or your mother's maiden name.

Many people are inundated with passwords and stick to simple ones they can remember. That's a huge advantage for an identity thief. A good password should have a random numbers, letters, and special characters like an exclamation point.

Guard your passwords, personal identification number (PIN), and anything that could be used as an answer to a security question, like your mother's maiden name. Even the most trusted person you know could unknowingly let your private passwords slip.

The internet can be convenient and fast, but it is also a haven for possible information compromise. These simple suggestions are the first steps towards identity theft prevention and there are many more suggestions out there, all you have to do is take the time to protect yourself.
About the Author
Get all the information you need on identity theft prevention from Mike Selvon's identity theft portal, and leave a comment at his identity theft blog.
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