As a new parent, I find it so much easier to shop online for any necessities than travel with twins to a department store. Or trying to find a parking spot over the weekend at the mall. Shopping online is very convenient but we risk getting our personal information stolen from a company’s website. Do not fall victim to identity theft protect your personal information at all times. Criminals who obtain stolen bank accounts, unauthorized use of credit cards and identification will be for their benefit. Mortgages and even new jobs are started by criminals using a victim’s personal information.
For victims of identity theft they are left with months sometimes years of invested time in clearing up their name. With credit being the base to purchase a home or car, victims have difficulty obtaining loans and jobs because of low credit scores. Stolen credit cards are among the most common forms of identity theft. For this same reason credit card companies have changed from magnetic stripes to radio-frequency identification chips. Although chips are not a guarantee to keep your credit card safer it has the advantage of quicker and more efficient information on transactions. To help the fight against identity theft following the tips below to prevent this from happening to you.
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
- Avoid carrying an excessive amount of personal information with you such as additional credit cards, social security and passport.
- When making a purchase guard your credit card and shield your hand at ATM machines.
- Never throw away credit card or ATM receipts in public trash cans or leave on counters to get stolen.
- Do not give out your personal information over the phone, via mail or internet unless you initiated the conversation.
- Only use protected and authenticated websites when shopping online.
- Be cautious when opening emails from an unknown source and never give out personal information via email.
- Always keep firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs up to date as well as installed on your computer.
- Monitor your credit card and bank account statements daily for accuracy. You can also monitor your credit by requesting a copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus.
- Safe guard you credit cards, bank and other personal accounts by creating a password for each. Never use personal information of consecutive numbers as passwords.
- Shred credit card and bank statements before disposing of them to avoid identity theft.