Identity theft is a severe crime and can cause severe repercussions in lives of the victim. There are many instances of victims committing suicide due to stolen identity. Identity theft kills relationships, plans, and dreams. In order to combat this increasing problem, government is taking steps. But these criminals are smart. They easily outsmart investigating agencies. So it is entirely up to you to save yourself from identity theft. These are some important tips that you must follow in order to protect yourself.
Lock the social security card in a hidden and safe place. It means don’t keep the social security card in the wallet. This card is as equivalent to driver’s license but has one very sensitive information, the 9-digit social security number (SSN) that recognizes you and accesses bank and credit information. Hence, keep that card outside the wallet. With the aim of protecting the SSN, don’t inform it to strangers and don’t give it in an online form.
Destroy any document or paper with vital information. A person will regularly get mail and documents with important personal information like bank account number and credit card account number. These documents must be destroyed, instead of just binning them. Identity thieves scan through trashcans to gather the required information.
Don’t click without thinking. Identity thieves who operate on the internet know how to copy websites and use them websites to steal data. These websites are known as phishing websites. E.g. the identity thief or scam artist copies a bank’s website. This bank’s client absentmindedly logs on the online banking site, will encounter a webpage, which asks him to submit his information. This webpage explains that it is updating details regarding the bank’s clients. The innocent client just fills out the form and clicks on the “OK” or “SEND” button.
Before clicking the button or sending important information through the internet, you must first find out the URL (Universal Resource Locator) of the webpage you are facing and check if it is genuine. E.g., the genuine website for eBay is http:ebay.com and the fake one is https:ebay.com. They are separate by one-letter. It does not imply that the “https” shows a fake website. Actually, extra s is preferred when keying personal information. The s, and a symbol of a lock at the end screen, shows the website is secure.
Finally, always check the details, particularly those on the bank account statement and the credit card bill. Some people delay the opening of the envelope as soon as they get credit card bill, as they are reluctant to know how much they have to pay before a specific due date. This habit may be harmful because these people won’t know immediately if their credit card has been used without authorization.