Whether you run a business or are simply just consumers doing his or her everyday shopping, do you ever worry about identity theft thieves interrupting your life?
Unfortunately, it happens more times than people like to think of.
When identity theft hits, it can be one of the most disruptive thing in an individual’s life.
That said are you taking the necessary precautions to lower the odds of becoming the next victim?
Don’t Help Identity Theft Thieves in the Process
One of the things identity theft thieves like the most is when individuals (and or businesses) make their jobs easier for them.
How might people do just that?
In the end, it comes down to not practicing commonsense, especially when it comes to financial and personal information.
Make sure you are not giving out personal and/or financial details that I.D. theft thieves can then take and use against you.
- Computer gaffes – The most obvious way identity theft thieves target and strike their prey is via the Internet, so watch your digital footprints carefully. This means not leaving a trail of personal and financial data a mile long. An example of this would be someone using a site to purchase a product or service from. They think the site is safe and secure, but it turns out that is certainly not the case. As a result, they’ve given the identity theft thief or thieves’ a green light to steal from them. Be as sure as you can possibly be that the site you are (see more below) on (Ecommerce stores, airline or rental car sites, banks and other financial institutions, medical offices etc.) is as secure as possible. Once your information has been compromised, it can lead to all sorts of personal and/or financial headaches. Turning to products such as ultimate plus service from LifeLock and others like them can make all the difference in the world;
- In-person stumbles – How many times have you been out in public, only to turn around and leave items such as a credit or bank debit card sitting around for all the world to see? Remember, it just takes an I.D. theft thief mere minutes or even seconds to strike. Before you know it, he or she has your numbers from a card or cards. Once they get that information, they can then in turn use it against you. Also never loan your credit or debit card (or other such item) to friends to use. Sure, you may think you are helping someone out in a pinch, but once again, this act of generosity can come back to haunt you. If someone you know needs short-term financial assistance, offer to take care of it for them with your credit or debit card or loan them cash. Never just hand over on your financial cards and tell them to give it back to you when they are done with it;
- Being overly social – Another error waiting to happen is being overly social on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others. While being active on social media can benefit you both professionally and personally, it does have its potential downfalls too. Be careful not to spill the beans about your financial practices when using any social media venues. More and more identity theft thieves are camping out on social sites, hoping that someone is a little too chatty or careless on them. When that occurs, a thief can strike at a moment’s notice. If someone requests you download something from a social media site, proceed with extreme caution. The only time you should ever consider downloading something off of a social media site is if you feel 100 percent confident it isn’t an item containing malware and/or the person or site requesting a download is one you trust entirely. Given how creative I.D. theft thieves have become, use your best judgment to lessen the odds you are primed to be their next victim.
Your personal information is just that, personal.
Don’t let a criminal or criminals put one over on you both online and off of it.
About the Author: Dave Thomas covers financial and business topics on the web.