Identity Fraud

Identity theft has been around for a long time. In the past people would go through bins and find discarded receipts, old bank statements and even credit card offers. With just 2 forms of ID people could apply for credit cards or store cards in your name and go on spending sprees. The first you would know is when you receive a statement showing the bill that you owe.

The growth of the internet has now made it even easier for people to steal your identity and use this to apply for finance/credit in your name. Watch this video for a problem with Facebook and security fraud:

General Some tips What it is plus tips      

Here are a few tips (although most people cant be bothered!

1. Becareful of phishing emails.
Dont reply or click on links within emails sent to you. Are the links real? Its easy to setup a website to look like another. Once you type in your login details, they have you!!!

2. Shred everything.
One of the ways that would-be identity thieves acquire information is through “dumpster-diving”, aka trash-picking. If you are throwing out bills and credit card statements, old credit card or ATM receipts, medical statements or even junk-mail solicitations for credit cards and mortgages, you may be leaving too much information laying about. Buy a personal shredder and shred all papers with personal information before disposing of them.

3. Watch for shoulder-surfers.
When entering a PIN number or a credit card number in an ATM machine, at a phone booth, or even on a computer at work, be aware of who is nearby and make sure nobody is peering over your shoulder to make a note of the keys you’re pressing.

4. Destroy digital data.
When you sell, trade or otherwise dispose of a computer system, or a hard drive, or even a recordable CD, DVD or backup tape, you need to take extra steps to ensure the data is completely, utterly and irrevocably destroyed. Simply deleting the data or reformatting the hard drive is nowhere near enough. Anyone with a little tech skill can undelete files or recover data from a formatted drive. There are programs that can make sure that data on hard drives is completely destroyed. For CD, DVD or tape media you should physically destroy it by breaking or shattering it before disposing of it. There are even shredders designed specifically to shred CD / DVD media.

5. Be diligent about checking statements.
This actually has two benefits. First, if you are diligent about checking your bank and credit statements each month, you will be aware if one of them doesn’t arrive and that can alert you that perhaps someone stole it from your mailbox or while it was in transit. Second, you can ensure that the charges, purchases or other entries on the statement are legitimate and match up with your records so that you can quickly identify and address any suspicious activity.

6. Analyze your credit report annually.
This has always been good advice, but it used to cost money, or you had to first be rejected from receiving credit so that you could get a free copy. Now it is possible to get a free look at your credit report once per year. The big three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) joined forces to provide free credit reports to consumers. The web site,, is currently available for the Western and Mid-Western states, with the Southern and Eastern states being rolled out later this year. You should review it to make sure the information on it is accurate and also make sure that there aren’t any accounts on there that you aren’t aware of or any other suspicious entries or activity.

7. Protect your Social Security number.
It is often suggested that you do not carry your Social Security in your wallet with your drivers license and other identification. Knowing your full name, address and full Social Security Number, or even the last 4 digits in many cases, can let a thief assume your identity. You should never use your Social Security Number as any part of a username or password that you establish and you should never divulge in response to spam or phishing scam emails.

8. Caveat Emptor ('Buyer Beware').
Avoid online companies you don’t know anything about. Its not about not getting goods, its about the data that you give them when you pay for an item. What will they do with your data? You can feel relatively secure doing business online with or any web site affiliated with well-known, national or global merchants. But, if you are buying something online you need to have some level of trust that the company you are doing business with is legitimate and that they take the security of your personal information as seriously as you do.

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