Looks like issues revolving around identity theft are going to be a big buzz for awhile with all that news about people’s personal information being stolen from various banks. Just today, I was watching a news segment on how identity theft affects people both emotionally and financially. It’s pretty staggering when you see how easy it is for people to get access to some of your personal information ranging from social security numbers to credit card accounts. What was really surprising to me was how it was showed that even kids as young as a few months old have had their identities stolen and was being used in ways such as getting prescription drugs.
Most of the advice that were given were common steps that I have heard in one time or another. For example, it’s generally suggested that you only give out your social security number in times where you have to such as for employment reasons. The Internet has made it even easier for scammers to collect personal information about you as even I receive dozens of e-mails a day from people known as “Phishers” who try to pose as legitimate companies that pretend to be performing some form of security audit check in which they request that you provide them with your personal and account information to prove that you are the legitimate owner of an account. The most common ones I have seen are ones claiming to be associated with a certain bank, ebay or paypal. General rule of thumb is that no legitimate company ever asks you to do such a thing over an e-mail message.
One thing that most people are not really aware of is their credit report and it is advised that one should pull out their credit report every so often to see if there are any odd details in your credit history such as applying for certain loans and credit cards that you have no recollection of. If someone is fraudulently using your identity for employment or financial reasons, it could have a drastic affect on you in the future. If you are aware that such an event might be occurring, then you could take some action in helping to prevent it by doing things such as placing a fraud alert on your credit file. To my knowledge, some of the larger organizations that can help you with such a thing is Equifax and Transunion. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen my credit report in awhile. I’ll probably take a look over it in the next few days. Who knows, maybe I’ll find something strange in it.