SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Aug 28, 2014) - Opportunistic individuals do not need a great deal of personal information about a victim in order to assume that person's identity to commit a crime. Documents retrieved from the trash display names, addresses and other information. When paying for goods and services with a credit card, service providers may quickly copy the number or swipe the card for erroneous charges. Creditnet, a leading credit card comparison site, suggests using a number of safeguards that reduce the likelihood of becoming an identity theft statistic.
1) Stay Aware of Surroundings
Before entering PIN numbers or other personal information to complete a transaction, take note of someone in close proximity who may watch your actions from behind in attempts at gathering vital personal information.
2) Use Photo ID Only
Avoid signing the backs of credit cards. In the majority of instances, service providers never look at the signature block. Suggest that clerks verify your identity by checking the photograph against your appearance. If a card is stolen, thieves generally only make purchases over the phone or online, which does not require a signature.
3) Shred Paperwork
Dumpster-diving or trash-picking are common methods used to find general mail, receipts or statements that contain a name, address or other information. Consider investing in an inexpensive personal shredder that adequately destroy papers and makes acquiring identity information more difficult. Many communities regularly schedule shredding events that assist residents in safeguarding information by properly destroying and disposing papers.
4) Eliminate Digital Data
Before selling, trading or disposing of CDs, DVDs, portable memory devices, computers or even smartphones, consider the personal information that each may harbor. Merely deleting internal data, reformatting or performing a factory restore does not erase the information contained within. Break, shatter or shred CDs and DVDs. Physically destroy memory devices, SMS cards and hard drives.
5) Keep Track of Statements
First, make sure that you receive statements on a regular basis. In the event that a statement does not arrive, check with the bank or service provider. If an error has not occurred, statements may have been stolen at some point during the mailing process. Checking the entries on statements alerts consumers to erroneous charges or other illegal actions. In the event that an unauthorized transaction occurs contact the appropriate service provider.
6) Hazards of Online Transactions
Buying, selling or performing other business transactions online increases the likelihood of someone having access to personal data. Unscrupulous individuals often use keylogging software or other types of hacking techniques to monitor digital devices and steal data. Restrict online transactions to reputable or well-known businesses and organizations. These venues protect clients and consumers by implementing encryption software or other safety measures.
7) Pay Bills Cautiously
If paying bills by mail, physically go to a mailbox or the post office and deposit the statement. Leaving the statement and check in a personal mailbox for the carrier to retrieve provides a chance for thieves to strike and obtain a wealth of information from the statement and the enclosed check.
8) Limit Displayed Information
Out of convenience, some prefer having driver license, phone numbers or social security numbers displayed on checks. However, this information provides another piece of the puzzle toward having enough data for hacking into accounts. Some law enforcement professionals also advise against using the first initial combined with a last name in place of displaying a full name.
9) Evaluate Credit Reports
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion provide consumers with one free credit report every year. Individuals easily apply for this revealing data through these agencies by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Review each report and make sure that all of the information and transactions displayed are accurate. If you find an error, contact the agency and follow the necessary steps to resolve the problem.
10) Safeguard Social Security Numbers
Regardless of your opinion on the viability of social security as a source of income during retirement, having access to this number provides another portal and opportunity for others to assume your identity. Protect this number from prying eyes. Avoid using the number in a password. Never provide the number over the phone or during questionable seeking ventures.
Creditnet is an authority credit card comparison site that offers innovative comparison tools to help users find the best credit card for their needs. In addition, the Creditnet Credit Talk Forum is a community of over 100,000 members that discuss credit cards, credit, debt, and credit repair daily.