The crime of ID theft happens when someone has his or her personal information misused by a criminal. The person who steals someone’s identity might use the victim’s name, social security number and other details in order to get benefits and services that the thief does not want to pay for. Subsequently, the victim is left to try and clear up the mess that the criminal made of his finances and personal records. The crime is a serious one with major consequences to targets and anybody can become a target.
ID Theft on the Internet
The Internet has, unfortunately, proved to be a useful tool for those criminals seeking to steal the identity of others. Identity thieves use a lot of different techniques and tricks to try to get ahold of people’s personal information online. For example, a thief out to steal someone’s identity might set up a fake version of a popular website to try to get people to enter personal information and passwords on the site. A criminal might also send out emails soliciting information or could hack into personal networks and databases in order to get ahold of personal details. Protecting yourself online means being smart about how you share your information, particularly when on unsecured networks. Don’t enter details about your passwords, social security number or other identifying data into a website unless it is secure and you trust the website. You are able to tell if a site is secure because it will say “HTTPS” rather than just “HTTP.” While you can't ever guarantee 100 percent that your identity won’t be stolen online, these pointers can help you stay safe.
Other Identity Theft Risks
Although the Internet is regarded as the biggest place where identity thieves work, victims could also have their identity stolen in other places too. For example, thieves could tamper with ATM machines to get them to record account information or could jot down credit card numbers and info when the cards are being swiped in restaurants or in stores. They can also look through discarded mail to get personal details. Protecting yourself from this type of identity theft is much more difficult, although you can take precautions by shredding your mail and being careful where your card is used.
Taking Steps to Fight ID Theft
Achieving 100% protection from having your identity stolen can be difficult or impossible. Nevertheless, with programs like IDENTITY GUARD®, you could have the tools you need to identify when your information has fallen into the wrong hands. If certain suspicious events occur, you are notified and you can then be proactive in finding out if your information has fallen into the wrong hands. Visit http://www.identityguard.com to learn more about protecting yourself from the effects of ID theft.