Posted by Danielle S on Oct 23rd 2015

Preventing Identity Theft

Lost or Stolen Laptop

A laptop can hold a lot of information (both personal and family), email account information, and financial information. Most times persons bookmark links to bank accounts, email accounts, and other financial institutions and have their browsers remember their passwords. If that laptop is stolen or lost, then all that information will then be compromised.

ATM and Handheld Skimmers

An ATM skimmer is a small handheld device that is placed inside the machine that reads credit cards. These devices are usually placed in gas pumps at a gas station. Criminals go to a gas station late at night and install these devices that read and record credit card information that can later be used by them.

Handheld skimmers resemble handheld card machine. These machines can instantly record the information about any credit card used and allow the criminals to create the exact copy of them.

5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Create strong passwords and change passwords frequently

When creating a password for accounts use capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It is a good idea to replace some letters with numbers or characters, for example, the letter e can be replaced with the number 3, the letter o can be replaced with the number 0 and the letter s can be replaced with the $. Change passwords every ninety (90) days or earlier if you feel the need to.

Do not save bank account information in the web browser and clear browsing cache frequently. Create passwords for folders that contain sensitive information. This will buy some time just in case your laptop, device or system is stolen.

Shred bills and statements before throwing them out

It is always better to make a small investment than to recover from a major loss. Find some time to go out and purchase a shredder to get rid of bank statements and documents that might contain personal information that you are throwing out.

Check credit card statements regularly

Check in with your bank or financial institution regularly and report any suspicious activities seen on a credit card statement. Contrary to popular beliefs, criminals do not need to have access to a credit card number in order to use it. Once they are in possession of certain personal information, the rest comes easy.

Do not give out personal information

Never give out any personal information over the phone or on the internet. Always check the privacy policy of websites when signing up for a service online. The customer should always be made aware of how their information is going to be used.

Check credit report

Review credit reports to see if everything is the way they should be. If not, place fraud alert can be placed on the credit report. A fraud alert can also be placed on the credit report if an individual feels he/she may become a victim of identity theft.