You probably already know that as a rule, everyone is at risk for identity theft in one form or another. The North Dakota state’s attorney recently warned consumers that not only are consumers never entirely safe, but consumers probably already know someone that has been victimized. Tens of millions of Americans have their identities stolen every year.
One common identity theft method used is called “phishing”, and involves fraudsters sending out copycat emails posing as a a bank, credit card company or other business. Consumers will then be asked to provide additional secure personal information or account details in an email. While these emails can be simply deleted it’s easy to understand why they work: most they appear to be legitimate as they utilize fake, but real looking logos and graphics.
In order to best protect yourself from phishing, it is important to remember that no company would ever ask for personal details via email or over the phone. Another practical defense to phishing is to log directly onto the official website, rather than follow the fraudulent link. When in doubt, do not click the links provided.
Similarly, it’s wise to shred mail from companies with whom you hold an account: a dumpster diver could gain valuable information about with whom you do business. Pieces of mail usually discarded as junk, should be run through a shredder to ensure they are not used against you. Further, it may be in your best interest to go paperless where possible. The less information you have that can be easily intercepted by someone, the safer you are.
Remain on guard by practicing awareness in regard to possible identity theft scenarios.
Utilize credit monitoring to alert you about any and all changes to your credit report. Many people find credit monitoring alone eases their mind about the possibility of identity breaches.
Finally, Protect yourself by using common sense.