Sorry I haven’t posted anything besides these survival updates the past few days. There was a death in the family over the weekend and things have been rather hectic. Trying to get everything back to normal though so hopefully in the next few days I’ll have some better content for you once again. I probably wouldn’t even be doing these right now if I hadn’t said I would be doing one every day when I started this. I hate when someone doesn’t follow through on something. Anyway, moving on:
I’m a good one to preach about identity theft (sarcasm) considering my personal email account has been hacked twice. Perhaps this time I’ll just quote directly from the book and try to pay attention myself . . .
39) Avoid Identity Theft
“People want to be you. They also want to use your name, credit cards, identification numbers, bank accounts to buy things for themselves and have you pay for them. They’re identity thieves-and they do business to the tune of billions of dollars a year. To protect yourself from having your identity stolen, it helps to know how these criminals operate”.
Trash Snoopers: These people are the reason shredders exist. They hope to find credit card numbers, bank accounts, or basically anything with personal information on it. Never dispose of sensitive documents in the trash can.
Skimming: When you hand your card to a waiter in a restaurant, you’re trusting that person with a lot. Not only can they charge you for more than what you owe (like to add a bigger tip for themselves) but they can also get the information off your card. Many places, especially online retailers, only need this information to process a transaction. Just be wary when you hand someone your card.
Phishing: Never assume that anyone you speak to over the phone or online is from your bank unless you know for sure. Phishing occurs when someone poses as one of those people in order to get you to give them your information voluntarily.
Mail rerouters: These criminals “use a change-of-address form to divert your bills to another location so they can steal your account numbers or set up new credit cards without your knowledge.
Classic theft: This is as simple as taking your wallet. If they have your bank cards, credit cards, and drivers license, they don’t need to resort to trickery. Always do what you can to avoid pickpockets.
Identity theft is a serious issue in today’s ever expanding digital world. Everything we do involves computers and we’re nothing more than letters and numbers to machines. If a criminal gets your numbers all they need to do is log on to teh interwebz and feed your info into the machine. Change your passwords frequently, use anti-virus software on your computers, and dispose of all personal documents by shredding or burning them.
Also, checking your credit is a really good idea. It helps you monitor things better and can sometimes reveal things you might not otherwise find out about. There are a lot of websites out there that offer a “free” credit score but then require you become a member first (which is the same as paying for it). I’ve found at least one site that offers free credit reports. I’ve been using Credit Karma for almost a year now and its actually helped me out tremendously. I think everyone should give it a shot, but that’s just my opinion. Always do your own research (as I have) before trusting anyone or anything that asks for your personal information.