Identity theft is fast rising up on the list of crimes being committed in the US. Last year’s identity theft statistics state that almost 9.5 million Americans became victims of privacy theft, collectively suffering a loss of almost five billion dollars. Anybody can become a victim of privacy theft and in a day and age where information is already easily available, it is extremely important that you take all kinds of precautions to prevent identity theft. Identity theft prevention is extremely important if you do not want to be defrauded and you should take special care never to disclose your bank account numbers, credit card numbers and social security number to anybody apart from authorized people.

Giving such information over the phone to different callers is a complete no no and it is advised that you unsubscribe from unsolicited promotional calls.

Giving away pin numbers is a big mistake and so is letting people stand behind while you operate your ATM or credit card. The internet and your computer is the place where most people succumb to identity theft nowadays. In order to prevent identity theft, use good quality anti virus and anti spy ware software on your computer. Do not respond to any mails that ask for personal information, even if the mail comes from your own bank or company. This could be a phishing attempt and no reputable company is asking for personal information through emails nowadays. Always sign out properly whenever you sign in at a site. Make sure that you shop only at trusted online stores. Do not keep your personal information like your bank account details and passwords on your computer’s hard disk drive. As far as passwords are concerned, please spend some time devising a secure password since it might end up saving you a lot of time, money and hassles later on. Remember that passwords derived out of date of births, names and social security numbers are no passwords at all. Most people do not discover that their identity has been stolen till it is too late.

In fact, on an average, people got to know that their identities were stolen only after an year or so. Since identity thieves generally use your personal information to get money through your bank account or credit card one way or the other, it is extremely important that you check your bank and credit statements thoroughly and inform your credit card company or bank ASAP in case you see any discrepancies. Checking your credit report regularly is a good way of checking for identity theft since your credit history reveals all your transactions. Report identity theft the moment you have any doubts that someone has access to your personal information or is misusing it. Inform your banks, credit card companies, all three credit bureaus and register a complaint with both the FTC and the local police. Do not delay reporting a loss of credit cards, ATM cards, debit cards and social security cards also, since even a slight delay can lead to severe losses in these cases.

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