10:59 am - Wednesday December 13, 2017

The DO’s and DON’Ts of Privacy Protection


Identity theft is a serious criminal offense which involves acquiring other people’s identity and fraudulently using it for malicious gains. Cases have been widespread all over the United States, affecting more than 10 million victims every year. Thieves will just do anything to steal information from credit cards, phone bills, banking statements, and even medical records.

Some forms of identity theft which involves financial fraud can really do some damage to its victims compared to others. On the other hand, for cases of credit card fraud, credit companies already have ways to manage. The government also has laws which minimize the liability of consumers once they become victims of fraud.

Credit card

Credit card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If identity theft goes unnoticed, it could ruin a person’s entire financial identity. The problem is that most victims are able to know they have been victimized only when they check their credit reports or after receiving notification calls from their collection agencies. Thus, early prevention to protect your credit and your identity is the most effective way to prevent id theft. So, here are some do’s and don’ts to prevent credit card fraud and other forms of identity theft.

DO’S

  1. Order a copy of your credit report each year from credit bureaus in order to review it for any inconsistencies. Getting credit protection as well as credit monitoring is good ways of preventing id theft as these bureaus can notify you once they find some discrepancies with your credit accounts. Early detection can enable you to do some action such as reporting a stolen card so merchants know once your card has been used.
  2. Get shredder or cut up all your credit card receipts along with your old bank statements and bills before you put them all in the trash. Make sure that these papers are no longer readable as some criminals engage in trash diving just to acquire your personal information. Shredding can make sure these papers are no longer accessible.
  3. Keep all your items with your personal information in a secure place. You don’t need to always bring all your identification cards like your social security card. In fact, you should just leave that behind in a safe inside your house along with your extra credit or ATM cards. You can just memorize your social security number to avoid the possibility of your card getting stolen.
  4. Secure your mailbox from theft by promptly removing mail from your mailbox. Outgoing mail should always be deposited in local post offices or in post office collection boxes. If your plan to go out of town for a significant period of time, you should also inform the post office to hold your mail until your return.
  5. Update your computer virus software, use a secure internet browser, and install a firewall program. Identity theft can also happen through malware sent to you via email, or through phishing websites that deceive victims to think these websites are authentic. Getting an updated antivirus program or a browser with the latest security features can alert you of these internet threats.

DON’TS

  1. Don’t provide personal information on the phone, through mail, or even over the internet. Only in cases where you are the one who initiated the contact or you know the person you are giving information to can you do this.  Criminals sometimes pretend to be bank representatives or internet service providers but you should take note that bank representatives will never contact you through phone.
  2. Never carry copies of your PINs and passwords in your wallet or purse. Some consumers do this so as they do not forget their PINs and passwords. However, once the wallet or purse gets stolen, thieves will have access to everything inside. It is therefore suggested that you keep copies of this information locked up in a safe at home instead of carrying them with you all the time.
  3. You should never put your social security number on your checks along with other identifiers. Doing this will expose your personal information in the open. Make sure your checks to dot contain anything that will expose sensitive information.

Privacy protection methods are not really full-proof. There are some very talented criminals out there. However, doing something to prevent your credit and your identity is always better than trying to recover from a lost credit card or from being a victim of fraud.


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Filed in: Credit Cards

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