How Can I Protect Myself
from Identity Theft?
It is unfortunate that the question, "How can I
protect myself from identity theft?" is now so
frequently posed. There was a time in the not-so-distant
past when people didnít really worry about identity
theft. If it ever even crossed their minds, it was because
they had lost a social security card, a driverís license,
or a birth certificate. Now, though, with so many people
putting vital information onto the Internet, identity
theft can occur without the loss of a single government
document. This federal crime is now occurring more and
more often. In 2003, nearly 10 million people were victimized
by incidents of identity theft, and since then, that
number has only risen.
A Modern Concern
Most Americans, at one time or another, have clicked
onto a secure website and entered in a social security
or credit card number. Unfortunately, these secure sites
are not always as secure as they lead people to believe.
News stories have run about hackers getting into secure
university or government databases and stealing thousands
of peopleís information just to show that they could
do it. However, before people give in completely to
paranoia, they should know that there are ways to protect
against identity theft.
Using Credit Cards and Credit Reports to Protect
Yourself from Identity Theft
Credit card companies have begun to produce cards that
do a very good job of guarding against fraud. The American
Express Blue was one of the first cards to use advances
in technology to ensure that a cardholderís account
information was protected. Blue, and similar cards from
other companies, have done their part to help cut back
on identity theft.
"How can I protect myself from identity theft?"
Remain Vigilant. Getting regular credit reports is a very easy way to protect against identity theft.
Gross changes in a credit score can indicate that someone
has been making large purchases, running up credit card
bills, or in some cases, taking out loans in another
personís name. Also, if a person sees that claims have
been made on a credit report that do not pertain to
him, he can dispute those claims and, with the help
of a professional credit service, find out if identity
theft or deception of another kind has taken place.
The question of protecting yourself from identity theft
is one that should only be asked once--after that, people
should take the necessary safeguards.