While most of us will have heard of identity theft, that never seems like something that would happen to us. It’s one of those things that happen on the telly but not to one personally. However, identity theft is far more common than anyone would think. And it’s not all large credit card theft operations and manufacturing fake passports.
No, identity theft can be as simple as forging a signature and, unless the perp is caught, it will almost always cause rather big problems for the victim. For the seemingly small benefit of a pizza ordered on someone else’s credit card, that person’s credit rating can take damage, they may even have their credit cards cancelled.
Identity Protection is key to avoid being in a situation like that. Now, taking care of personal documents is one of the easier steps to avoid being targeted for identity theft. The same thing goes for signatures and online payments. Taking extra care before signing anything and double-checking the validity of websites before making a payment can make all the difference for a potential scammer.
There’s less obvious protections as well, and they can be just as important. Keeping a secure pin on a phone (meaning not a birthday or ‘1234’) and not writing down the pin-codes for debit and credit-cards makes it much harder for thieves to use cards even if they are able to lift them or find the details. Sometimes card details are stored online during a purchase and there is ample proof that they aren’t always kept secure enough. It’s always safer to choose to not store card details for future payments.
Another often neglected thing to do is to regularly check all bank statements and credit card statements. That way, if there are any odd or unexplained charges, the bank can take care of them immediately and refund the money, possibly even find the culprit. If the fraud is never reported, it’s much more difficult to prove it happened at all, much less to stop the negative consequences that can happen.
Depending on the specific country, it can also be very important to keep one’s national insurance number private, as that alone can often be enough to do things like take out a new credit card, or even enter an employment contract. That can have rather awful consequences, just as credit card theft can.
Identity Security is as vital to personal protection as locking the door when you leave-forgetting it even once carries significant risk of falling victim to a scammer.