The Internet has made information exchange faster and easier than ever before. Thanks to advancements made in technology, tasks can be accomplished with a simple click of a button. Among such tasks are electronic transactions and payments. Today, you no longer have to leave the house to pay your bills. You can do even do it on your phone.
Despite all these advantages, it’s important to remember that some conveniences still come with a price. The increased accessibility of payment methods also contributes to the rising incidences of identity theft in the recent years.
Identity theft occurs when someone acquires your personal information and uses it without your permission. Perpetrators use this information for a variety of reasons, but most will use your identity for economic gain. For example, perpetrators will typically make big purchases using your credit card information. They may also use your identity to set up their own checking accounts.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 16.6 million people experienced at least one incident identity theft in 2012 alone. Financial losses due to these cases amounted to a total of $24.7 billion. The most common methods of identity theft include stealing credit cards or checks, hacking computers, and exploiting information obtained under false pretenses. You can click here to learn more about what to do if you are accused of such a thing.
Falling victim to identity theft is a terrifying prospect, as you could end up buried under debt you didn’t even accumulated. Thankfully, there are several ways you can protect your information from falling to malicious hands.
- Keep all your financial information in a safe and secure place at home. You should also tear and shred any document before throwing them away.
- Minimize the amount of financial information you carry on your person. It’s best not to carry around your passwords and PIN numbers. Memorize them instead.
- Always shield the keypad with your free hand when typing in numbers and PIN codes in public phones or ATM machines.
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for sensitive information such as your Social Security number or back account details. Remember that reputable and legitimate business will never make unsolicited calls or emails asking for such information.
- Collect mail from the post office promptly. If you won’t have time to pick up important packages, it’s best to call and ask the post office to put your mail on hold.
- Making sure your bank and credit card statements are arriving on time. If there are any significant delays, make a call and ask if the bank was able to send your statements to the proper address.
- Instead of having them delivered at home, it will also be better if you can personally pick up new check books or credit cards.