Identity theft is one of the biggest concerns of people all over America today; identity theft has been used for not just financial fraud, but also to carry out terrorist activities and federal crimes. If you are a worried that you could be the victim of identity theft, then this article is designed to help you prevent and fight identity theft. The scope of this article will be limited to financial fraud and how you can prevent identity theft to make sure you are not robbed of your hard earned money.
The most popular method identity thieves employ is Phishing, Phishing is the process of sending fake emails to users and then fooling them into giving their financial details like card numbers, pin numbers and net banking passwords online. The problem is that all Phishing mails look as if they are from authentic sources; hence many people get fooled into giving away their financial details.
If you ever receive an email requesting confidential financial information, chances are that itâ€™s a Phishing scam, almost all major banks and credit cards openly advertise that they will never ask for your financial details by email or phone. If you are still not sure if the email you have received is genuine or not, call your bank or credit card company to confirm if they have sent you the email. As a rule of thumb you should never send confidential financial information by replying to a mail, or disclose details over the phone.
Apart from Phishing, another popular method used by identity thieves is applying for an add on card to your credit card. If your credit card statement has a purchase you have not made, make sure you call your credit card company and confirm itâ€™s not a billing mistake. If the credit card company is confident that itâ€™s not a billing error, chances are that an identity thief has managed to link an add-on credit card to your current card. Make sure that all add-on cards and similar options are disabled, if possible ask your credit card company to issue a new card.
Similarly if you find funds disappearing from your bank account without reason, or you find fines being imposed for checks you did not issue, chances are that someone has stolen your identity, the best option in these cases is to close your account, and apply for a new account. Also you should make sure you carefully scrutinize all your bank statements, most identity thieves are very clever, and instead of taking out a large withdrawal they prefer slowly siphoning funds from a bank account, if you find any discrepancies in the bank statements make sure you resolve the problem at the earliest, you might be the victim of identity theft.
Another way to protect yourself from identity theft is making sure you do not disclose confidential financial details anywhere; donâ€™t write down your net banking passwords or PIN numbers. Chances are if someone gets a hold of your wallet, he will also get access to all your Net banking passwords and ATM PIN numbers. In fact this is the reason almost all banks and credit card companies ask you never to write down your passwords and PIN numbers.
Also if you have stopped receiving bank statements, or credit card bills by mail, donâ€™t assume itâ€™s a banking error, bank statements and credit card bills are used by identity thieves to carry out identity theft. Make sure that you receive all your bills and bank statements regularly. A better option is to opt out of paper bills and statements all together, and receive them electronically by email.
The biggest weapon you have in the fight against identity theft is awareness, make sure you read articles, visit websites, and read all the literature your bank or credit card company provides you. If you are aware of the various ways in which identity thieves operate, you can better protect yourself.
Â Also remember that identity thieves are getting smarter every day, so you should be extremely protective about your credit cards, and financial details like net banking passwords and PIN numbers. At the end of the day your biggest weapon against identity theft is being vigilant and aware. By making sure you are protected against identity theft you can ensure that you never have to deal with identity theft in the future.