Effective, simple ways to protect yourself and your credit cards from online identity theft scams. Identity theft is fast becoming the No 1. rated cyber-crime in the US.

The spending season is here once again. If you plan to shop online this time and after, it is imperative that you constantly remain vigilant and also jealously guard your personal details.

Identity theft occurs when someone commits fraud, scams using another person’s personal identification and posing as that person, otherwise referred to as the victim. The crime could be perpetrated online or offline; identity theft it has become so prevalent the federal bureau of investigation dubbed it “America’s fastest growing crime problem.”

To keep yourself protected this shopping season, it would be wise to take action on the following steps.

  • Keep Personal Information Safe.

Do not disclose social security numbers, date of births and rent receipts to unauthorized persons. Shopping malls do not need these information to serve you, unless of course it is a phishing website masquerading as legitimate business.

  • Report Deceased Relatives

Identity thieves scour obituary publications to obtain records and personal information related to the deceased. Piecing together personal data, cyber criminals are thereby able to create/update records they use in perpetrating crimes. Experts advises obtaining official death certificate  and serve same to relevant bodies the person may be affiliated to such as loan offices, banks and other financial institutions like insurance companies. Finally, putting out a deceased alert as it places notice on the deceased relatives credit report is essential to stop fraudsters from applying for loan or credit using the person’s information.

  • Be Wary Of (Suspicious) Links In Certain Unsolicited Emails

Refrain from giving out your email address to every dick and harry website visited. Some websites actually serve as data mining facility for identity thieves. If you must serve your email for offers you do not exactly recognize its source or one that you believe you have reason to doubt its validity, you may create 10 minute email accounts that expire after use.

  • Allow/Enable Notification On Bank Statements And Credit Cards Usage

Recent banking procedures now require customers to apply for email and sms notifications on their credit card, bank transactions and other financial statement. That way, it is easier and faster to detect any suspicious activity early enough. Sometimes, such steps help mitigate attempts at identity theft and may even aid law enforcement in the early tracking of criminal activity.

  • Be Frugal When Entering Bio In Social Media

Because of the anonymous nature of the web and its burner, social media, thieves use these platforms to harvest loads of user data. To protect yourself, ensure you turn privacy settings which block certain details like date of birth and, sometimes, your place of date, from public view. Keep tabs on your friends; don’t rush into confirming new friends at your social networks; carefully check or survey the requester’s page and determine if you have mutual friends etc.

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  • Install Latest Antivirus and Anti Spyware Programs.

Keep your pc safe, install current anti virus software and set it to update daily. As hundreds of offers pour in from familiar and unfamiliar websites, especially during this shopping season, keep your senses when such offers involved downloading software or documents files to your computer. One very successful means identity thieves employ to steal your personal info is to bury keylogger, a sort of malware, in your computer system. They are able to record, monitor your keystrokes whenever you use your PC. That way, your passwords, credit card numbers and passwords could become compromised.

  • Don’t Just Delete files – Shred Sensitive Documents

When you delete files from your PC, it never really is deleted. If a fraudster steals your computer, they can recover your deleted documents, even when you had emptied the recycle after deletion. The wise choice is to install file shredders; shred outdated bank statements, credit card applications and statements, insurance company filings, purchase receipts etc.

Take these necessary security steps to ensure theft-free shopping season this yuletide and beyond

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PM Browne

Ceo/Founder at Shopping News Today
PM Browne is chief executive, SNT. Before now Browne worked previously in such key marketing areas as advertising, order fulfillment officer for an online retail giant before setting out to develop Shopping News Today to cater for the online e-commerce information sector
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