Finding Identity Theft Records on the Internet
There have of course been a number of highly publicized incidents of identity theft on the internet, and this has led many people to more closely examine the extend to which they are at risk. There are many identity theft reports on the internet, and a careful reading of these reports can provide important clues about what to watch for and how to keep your valuable personal information safeguarded while online.
While there are of course many identity theft records on the internet, it is important to keep in mind that not all incidents of identity theft can trace their origins to the web. In fact, many episodes of identity theft still take place the old fashioned way, via paper. In fact, many determined identity thieves have resorted to digging through trash and dumpster diving in an attempt to recover valuable information that was carelessly thrown away. That is why a simple and inexpensive purchase like a personal shredder can be such an important investment in preventing identity theft. Simply shredding bank statements, credit card statements, pay stubs and other sensitive documents can significantly cut down on the risk of identity theft.
On the internet, there are also a number of common sense and very simple to implement steps that can help you avoid showing up on one of those identity theft records. One of the simplest is to install a quality virus protection software package, and keep it up to date every day. Many of the viruses being written today are designed specifically to steal passwords and other personal data, but many of them can be thwarted simply by installing strong virus protection.
In addition, looking at emails with a suspicious eye can help keep your name off those identity theft reports. One of the most common ways identity thieves gain access to personal information is by sending out emails that look legitimate but are really cleverly disguised tricks. A good rule of thumb is never to click the link embedded in such an email, but to go directly to the bank, brokerage firm, online auction house or other business that supposedly sent the email. If you are at all unsure about the authenticity of the email, contact the business first to verify it before parting with any information. Most businesses will not need to ask for sensitive information such as passwords or account numbers, so it pays to be wary.
If you do find yourself, despite your best efforts, on the latest identity theft reports, it is important to report the situation to all three credit reporting agencies as quickly as possible. Ask that a fraud alert be placed on your account immediately, as this will notify anyone who looks at your credit report that there is possible fraud going on. It is also important for those on identity theft reports to order copies of their credit reports several times a year after that and carefully review the report for any new accounts that are not authorized. If any such accounts are found, report them immediately and ask that they be closed. This diligence on the part of consumers is one of the best ways to combat the growing problem of identity theft, both on the internet and off.