By Michael Russell
Unfortunately identity theft is not a well-known type of crime, but is one of the top rising felonies in the world. Most known cases take place (of course!) in America. The "land of the free" is actually too free when it comes to identity theft. Statistic, one in twenty adults are victims of one or more sorts of identity theft: stolen credit cards or credit cards numbers, social security numbers and other individual ID.
Identity Theft - Who Are the Criminals?
Let's start with what many dislike the most: illegal immigrants. No, they are not all bad, but some might use your SSN or date of birth to obtain a job.
But wait! Illegal immigrants are not as numerous as local criminals that sell your social security numbers to thousands of individuals who use it to obtain cash or a mortgage in your name.
And what about criminals that use false names and security numbers to protect their own identity? Those are not necessarily immigrants. Are you going to let yourself get arrested for their sake?
Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
Have you lost or "misplaced" your credit card? Even if you don't believe it was stolen, don't wait too long to report the incident to the police and your bank. Keep in mind that it is not so easy to detect identity theft and when you do, it might be too late! Such a happening can seriously damage not only your financial status, but your reputation as well.
• It is not easy to protect yourself against identity theft, but if you run a credit report on yourself periodically you will certainly find out if anyone inquired a loan on your name.
• Do not keep too many bank accounts and cancel all your inactive ones. Keep your credit cards in place or limit their amount for safety reasons.
• Do not give important ID data to someone you don't know over the telephone. That includes: birthday, social security number, driver's license number, bank account, or other important ID details.
• Always shred documents containing these details when you no longer need them.
• Read all of your bills. Make sure they are yours before paying them!
• If you close a checking account, destroy all the remaining checks!
• Take care of your passwords and PIN numbers. Better: memorize them. With passwords, don't choose an easy one like your birthday or girl-, boyfriend's name!
• Try to give as little information as possible online. Think that by obtaining your place of birth any identity thief can duplicate your birth certificate and other important documents.
• Take care of your wallet and purse. Never leave your most important documents out of sight! Not at work, in a shop, in a waiting room. Nowhere!
Sometimes to track identity theft you need to hire a private investigator, as official ways take often too long. Don't believe you'll pay too much. Identity theft is one of those situations where time is really money! A private investigator may prove to be more of a saving than an expense.
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