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What is identity theft? Identity theft is defined as the process of illegally acquiring money, credit, goods, or services by pretending to be someone else.
In today's electronic age, identity theft has become a hugely common issue. With tons of data being submitted electronically, stealing one's identity is barely a challenge. But you can't live in fear. The best you could do is to use methods of identity theft protection.
You can start off by being extremely protective of your PIN numbers, especially at ATMs. Try to memorize your PIN number. Do not, by any means, scribble it down on your ATM card.
Remove mail from your mailbox promptly. If you suddenly stop receiving mail, notify the post office immediately. Identity thieves can forge your signature, and have your mail sent elsewhere. Then, they will have access to all your personal documents.
Do not just throw away all your credit card receipts and unused loan applications. Many identity thieves aren't shameful about "dumpster diving," and will retrieve your personal information. Tear up those receipts and applications first. The same applies if you're looking to throw away old bank statements and other financial documents. If you have access to a shredder, shred them before tossing them in the trash.
Did your credit card get lost or stolen? Contact the credit card company immediately. In a matter of an hour, those dreaded identity thieves could harge $1,000.00 to your account!
Whether you receive your statements via mail or electronically, be sure to go over them carefully. Check for any fraudulent transactions. If you find any, report them at once.
Keep an eye out for skimmers. Skimming is the process of stealing someone's credit or debit card number through a special device while processing your payment. Next time you pay with your card at a restaurant or store, pay close attention to the server or clerk. Disgruntled employees are everywhere, and some of them have small handheld devices used to swipe your card and store personal information to be viewed at another time. In other words, if you have cash on you, please use it.
Phishing is another popular technique amongst identity thieves. This is when people use fraudulent e-mails and pop-up windows to retrieve personal information from you.
Identity theft can simply occur by stealing someone's purse or wallet. That's why you shouldn't leave your personal belongings alone, even if it's only for a minute. That's also good motivation to take along only one or two credit cards. Do NOT keep multiple credit cards in your wallet. Finally, an excellent way to prevent identity theft is to check your credit reports once or twice a year. You may see several accounts and transactions that don't belong to you. At Best Legal Credit Repair, we will dispute errors on your credit report that were caused by identity theft. Don't let these identity thieves ruin your credit. Sign up now!
Identity theft is the most common form of white collar crime in the U.S. today. According to the FTC, 1 in 6 Americans can expect to be victims of identity theft in this year alone. Here are some other startling identity theft statistics you should keep fresh in your mind:
. In 2010, almost 10 million Americans were the victim of some kind of identity theft (up from over 8 million in 2009). The losses totaled more than $52 million, according to recent data released from the FBI.
. 38% of identity theft victims find out within the first three months. Up to 18% don't find out for four years or longer.
. 40% of families experience emotional and personal struggles following identity theft.
. 42% of victims feel they can't trust anyone after becoming victims.
. According to the FTC, more than half the time, identity theft victims knew the offenders who stole their identities. They were friends, co-workers, employees, neighbors, and even family members. A good amount of identity theft has been committed by parents against their own children.
. 16% of identity theft is caused by one spouse against the other. Oftentimes, these are domestic abuse cases.
. 14% of phishing e-mails are successful.
Now that you have these identity theft statistics in mind, you should be more careful about who you grant access to your personal information and how you keep it stored. A good way to prevent identity theft is to obtain a copy of your credit report. At Best Legal Credit Repair, we can dispute errors on your credit report that were caused by identity theft. In a matter of 4-6 months, all those errors could be eliminated. Call us toll-free at 1-800-455-9416 or fill out our online form to get started today!