Archive for May, 2011
There is abundant evidence that people today are very concerned with protecting their identity. Several online identity theft forum threads and blog article comments show that today’s society has yet another threat to contend with, identity thieves. These can show up in the form of online criminals selling credit card information as well as social security numbers. There are several whose identity has been stolen either by someone they are closely related to or someone they once roomed with or had a relationship with.
Whatever the case, being concerned with protecting personal information is common among millions of Americans. Whether you have received a letter from an institution whose records have been compromised or have found your bank account drained, you want to know how you can prevent this from happening again.
There is no easy answer to this dilemma. Due diligence is necessary in order to at least be informed once your social security number has been used, whether you used it or not. With your legitimate credit and debit cards, once they have been used at a store, restaurant, for an online bill payment or run some other way, they are at risk of being stolen, even if you physically hold the card. It might be necessary to log in to online banking and credit card accounts several times weekly to be sure that all charges are yours. If not, contact the card issuer immediately to cancel and replace the card and to report unauthorized charges. Since this is a crime, it is also necessary to file a police report with your local police department. They will give you more information on how to handle the theft and resources you can turn to.
It might help to switch to using cash for most transactions. While a checking account and debit card might be necessary for some online purchases and for paying bills, it could cut down on the probability of your card number being stolen if you don’t have one to use or only have a limited number of transactions on the one you have. Try only having one card (debit) and don’t place all of your funds on that card. Keep funds in an account not accessible by a debit card and only place funds in the debit card account that are needed for purchases you plan to make.