4 Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Barbara Jones
Checking Credit Card

Identity_TheftIdentity thieves seem everywhere, if at our front-door step or online (like email scams or texting tactics), readily presenting a new con, ways to steel your wallet.

With the new scams that continually pop up all around us, it is often times hard for credit card companies to be proactive in identifying identity theft, as it is primarily a reactive type of circumstance.

Identity thieves might be using “skimmers”, which are inserted into card slots of ATMs or gas pumps to steal information. Or, they might be using “phishing” techniques and posing as a person or legitimate business, company, or agency in order to bait people into providing private information.

Online, users themselves often download malicious software designed to log keystrokes of the users and provide sensitive or private information.

Steven Weisman, author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age, and others have provided a few helpful suggestions for us:

  • When making a transaction online, make sure you are on the correct website and the site is secure. The URL in your address bar, usually at the top of your web-browser should begin with “https” instead of just “http”, as the “s” indicates a ‘secure’, encrypted connection has been established between you and the company.
  • Often times, people leave credit care information on file with different companies. Do not do this, even if it might be convient. “Because if they are hacked, your security is compromised,” Weisman, who maintains the blog www.scamicide.com, says.
  • Text message, emails, and phone calls should be regarded with a suspicious mindset. Discover Financial Services spokesperson Katie Henry says, “Never email confidential information. Regular e-mail is not a secure method of sending private information.” And, “Do not reply to any email requesting personal information.” Emails will not be sent by legitimate companies requesting any private or personal information, like date of birth, account numbers, or mother’s maiden name.
  • Finally, be cautious about sharing information on social network websites. Javelin Strategy & Research published a recent survey that found information shared by social media users may be posting information in a public fashion that identity thieves and scammers might need to steal your identity. “Specifically, 68 percent of people with public social media profiles shared their birthday information (with 45 percent sharing month, date and year); 63 percent shared their high school name; 18 percent shared their phone number; and 12 percent shared their pet’s name — all are prime examples of personal information a company would use to verify your identity.”
  • >