Identity thieves are always on the prowl for the next victim. The Federal Trade Commission has estimated almost nine million people in the United States of America, every year, have become victims of identity theft. Not every person is at the risk of becoming part of the statistics, but some people fall victim a lot easier, as they reveal more about themselves much easier.
With so many active social media networks around today, people are sharing information that can fall into the wrong hands, and this can create havoc pertaining to their identities. How you use your mobile device, tablet, pay for your items or meals, and how you interact with your friends via social networks can expose you to identity theft more.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networking services share one objective, which is to allow you to share information with other people in your network, such as your friends, family, colleagues, and others. However, if you are not careful, identity thieves could also “like” what you post and eventually, make you one of their victims. Identity thieves tend to look for people who over-share their information, as it makes it much easier for them to obtain your personal information.
While you may not post your Social Security number or bank account details on any of your social networks, any minor details relating to your identity could easily make it possible for identity thieves to apply for a loan in your name, for example. It will not be difficult for them to use your personal details to fool customer service representatives either. Your birth date or even your home address can put you at risk.
Identity thieves can be found almost anywhere. Even the nicest waiter or customer service representative in your favorite store can be one. This is perhaps one of the most difficult situations to steer clear of, as you have to provide your personal information almost every time that you dine out or buy something. Most of these waiters and customer service representatives have two jobs. They may be serving you in restaurants or stores, but in some cases, they take on another job, which is to provide your credit card and bank account details to other people. It is not difficult for them to do this, as the account information is usually right there for the taking. In order to avoid these issues, you have to review your monthly statements closely and consider keeping track of all your purchases in a journal.
Whether you have bad, good, or no credit at all, it is safe to say that your information is out there. On average, people receive over 20 offers every month to open a new savings or checking account, or even a credit card. This is a huge problem, because most people are very lazy when it comes to monitoring their documents. When people receive these junk mails, they usually toss them in the bin. This is where the trouble often starts, as identity thieves can easily get hold of your personal information by going through your trash bin. It will definitely help if you have a shredding machine. Shred those junk mails and add a bit of water to the shredded pieces. This way, the identity thief will find wet and soggy papers, which will be invaluable to him or her.
These days, you need to be extremely careful with your personal information. Consider protecting your smartphone with a password and try to avoid using your phone to check your bank accounts or using public WiFi.