Are You Safe From Identity Theft?
The short and scary answer is, probably not!
A few short years ago the thought of someone actually capturing your identity and using it for wicked purposes was a rarity. But with the explosion of the Internet and on-line purchases in combination with so many other high-tech devices, identity theft is fast rising to epidemic proportion.
Now, any loser with a computer and an evil mind can gather, for their personal benefit, your credit card information, social security number, drivers license number, and a whole host of other very personal information and do you great damage! Damage you won't be able to escape from for years, if ever!
In addition to making your life a living hell, the ID thief is busy taking innocent merchants to the cleaners! And to think, some people don't believe in capital punishment! (Well, that may be a bit rough but shouldn't we be able to chop off their hand?:-)
Think about it. In the course of a busy day, you may write a check at the local grocery store, charge tickets to a hockey game or theatre, rent a car, mail your tax returns, withdraw cash from an ATM, call home on your cell phone, order new checks, or apply for a credit card. These are everyday transactions that you may never give a second thought to but are an identity thief's dream come true!
Every day we conduct simple business transactions that require the sharing of personal information; information containing your bank and credit card account numbers; your income, Social Security number, address and phone numbers, drivers license number, just to name a few. By protecting this information you can greatly reduce the likelihood that you will be a victim of Identity Theft!
First, let's take a quick look on how identity thieves get your information.. . .
They rummage through your trashcan, looking for straight cut or un-shredded papers. (Always use a cross-cut shredder!) ·
They steal your mail, wallet, or purse. If possible, they may even return it to avoid suspicion but not until they have copied or extracted the information they desire.
They eavesdrop on conversations you have in public.
They trick you into giving them the information over the telephone or by email.
They purchase the information off the Internet or direct from someone who might have stolen it.
They steal it from a loan or credit application form you filled out or from files at a hospital, bank, school or business that you deal with.
Or they may have picked through the dumpsters outside of such companies.
They quietly hack into your computer, especially if there is no firewall.
They may be a friend or relative or someone who works for you who has access to your information.
And everyday these dirtbags are coming up with new ways to steal your hard-earned cash and reputation!
Let's be realistic. No one can be 100% safe from identity theft, but you can seriously minimize your risk by managing your personal information wisely.
Remember, a thief is a thief because they do not want to expend the effort of earning an honest living. In essence, they're lazy!
The easier you make it for them to obtain your information the happier they will be.
Unfortunately, as just stated, an ID thief can strike even when you're very careful. One of the best ways to catch identity theft is to regularly check your credit record! Order your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at least once each year and verify that all the information is correct.
Here are the names and addresses of the three major credit bureaus.
Trans Union http://www.transunion.com
If a credit card company or business denies your application for credit due to the information contained on your credit report, you can send for a free credit report from whichever credit bureau they used to determine that you were not worthy of receiving credit.
Also, follow up with creditors if your bills do not arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
A simple trick an ID thief uses is to complete a 'change of address' form in your name at the post office and redirects your mail to his address or P.O. Box.
So, keep an eye on all monthly bills and statements and follow up on anything that seems suspicious! Don't assume that everything is ok. Verify that it is.
Keep in mind, ID thieves are pigs but they are usually smarter than average pigs!
Identity theft is fast becoming a global epidemic. If you operate a merchant website be sure that all transactions are heavily encrypted for security. And advertise this feature to your customers.
Remember, anything you can do to make your customer feel comfortable will help increase your chance for a sale.
For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft download your no-charge, no risk copy of 'How to Stop Financial Rape. Combating The Evils Of Identity Theft!' at http://www.id-theft-sucks.com or send a blank email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
To your success,
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