Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Identity Theft - What you do to Protect Yourself and Family




In this information-rich society our lives are becoming more data orientated. Our personal banking information is used on an almost daily basis in all transactions. The following tips are designed to offer you the most protection against becoming a victim. Scams, fraud and identity theft is unfortunately here to stay, but you can minimize the risk to you and your family by following these common sense guides.

Securing your personal data is a key aspect of avoiding identity theft. Ensure any document with your name and address on is destroyed. Junk mail can be recycled in the normal way. However personal information should be destroyed either b shredding or burning. There is an alarming rise in burglars breaking into property to steal identity documents rather than physical possessions so ensure your private documents are safely hidden within your house.

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Identity

Always ask to see a person’s identification card when they unexpectedly call at your door. If you are unsure don’t leave the door open. Instead say politely that you are going to check with their company. Phone the company asking for clarification of the caller’s identity. Be wary of researchers and unofficial census takers; always check their credentials as necessary. It may be an inconvenience for the caller but they will understand.


Internet

Make sure your Internet is protected with a good anti-virus system as many scams are created through unsolicited access to your computer. A point to consider is never reply to a link in an email that comes from your Internet bank, eBay, or another banking institution etc. If the information requested asks you to divulge any secret passwords or security codes then ignore it. Any serious company would never ask for this information. Phishing as it is termed relies on the unwitting recipient logging onto a replica website, divulging secret information.

Shopping and personal possessions

Always keep your handbag, bags and wallets in places they can clearly be seen. Do not put your bag underneath your feet or hanging on the back of the chair whilst dining as these are prime locations for thieves to steal your belongings with your identity details. You should also destroy all old receipts. Never throw away a receipt in a bin as this is the first place criminals will look.


Lists and passwords – Encrypt them!

Keep a list of your credit card and other institution phone lines. In the unlikely event your details are compromised you will be able to quickly contact your providers and get your credit cards and bank blocked. Never write down your passwords or security numbers as tempting as it may sound. Always check your statements, highlighting any irregularities. It is prudent to regularly update your passwords. Avoid using the same password for multiple credit cards and banking providers.


Never share Information

Even with friends and family your personal information is for you only. Never share bank account numbers, PIN security codes or other sensitive information. It is surprising but many young and old people are careless with this information. In the wrong hands it could be very damaging.

Important documents

Often it is better security practice to keep some documents separate from your main handbag or wallet. Leave passports, chequebooks, and major credit cards at a safe place in your house. A local well approved safe is an essential, ensure it is fire-proof. If in the unlikely event your experience theft your most valid documents will be safely at home.

Following these simple tips can ensure you are as safe as possible in this data-rich society. Scams and fraud are likely to stay with us for the considerable future. Protect yourself now by avoiding unnecessary risks. Staying protected is the key to avoiding this type of crime. Commonsense really is one of the better senses for protecting you against scams and fraud.