This is the second of a two part series on how to
avoid identity theft. Here’s a review of some of
the common ways that you can have your
personal financial information stolen and how to
avoid them.   

Don’t use “contactless” credit cards that can be read
and charged with just an electronic wave. These cards
use radio frequencies to transmit your account
information to a merchant. Thieves can read your card
just by holding a sensor near this type of card, say
next to your pocket when you are standing in a
checkout line. Keep your credit cards hidden in your
wallet and bag when not in use.   

Don’t use small independent ATMs such as those
located in small grocery stores. They have a higher
incidence of being controlled by shady characters that
will retain and use your ATM bank ID information and
password. They can then duplicate your ATM card
and make unauthorized withdrawals later. Check any
ATMs you use for any extra equipment installed on the
card reader and number keyboard. Criminals will
temporarily install these readers and later collect the
card and password information to make duplicate
cards for unauthorized withdrawals from all those
unlucky enough to use that ATM while it was installed.

Keep the latest malware and virus protection software
on your computer. Hackers can deliver malware to
your machine that can collect all the information and
history on it, including your financial information.  This
happens when you enter unsavory websites or click
on email attachments from bad sources. This
information is later collected by them to gain access
to your accounts. It’s important to have the latest
software protection on your computer to find and
remove and dangerous programs planted there from
these sources.

You should only deal with merchants that you believe
are trustworthy. Your credit or debit card is only as
safe as the company and its employees from which
you make purchases. Over time you have probably
developed relationships with retailers/businesses,
whether brick and mortar stores or online. Stick with
these businesses. If you do business with new
companies, do a little quick research online to see
how long they have been in business and if they have
had significant complaints.

If you have several credit cards, use the lower limit
ones when making purchases from new businesses. If
you use a low limit credit card, there is less damage
to deal with if that card is run up to its limit in
fraudulent transactions. Of course, you should be
made whole by your credit card company for
fraudulent transactions, but it’s better to avoid the
trouble in the first place. In addition, it’s best to use a
credit card, not a debit card for any purchases from a
new business. This is because the protections are
greater with your credit card company than with a
bank that has issues you a debit card.

You should destroy all of your billing records after you
no longer need them. Of course, this is after checking
them carefully for any transactions that are not correct.
Shredding them is a good policy. Don’t throw away
bills at the same time as any password information
you may have received from the same account. If you
cut a card in half so you don’t use it, and have not
cancelled it, throw each piece away in different
garbage pickups.  

You should not give telemarketers your credit card or
social security number information. How do you know
if they are who they say they are? If you decide to do
business with them, seek them out separately through
conventional means. There should be no problem
doing this if they are legitimate. See above for how to
guard your SS number.   

Make sure that you receive all of your bills every
month. It’s an immediate red flag if you don’t receive
one that you normally do. This may be because
someone has changed your address on the bill, a
step likely concurrent with them making purchases on
that card. You won’t know until much later, so keep
track of all bills that should be coming.

Return to
Part 1 of  Identity Theft - Key Actions to
Take  Avoid It.   

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Identity Theft – The Best Ways to Avoid
It – Part Two.
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consultation concerning any financial issue facing you. We
can help. Please contact:
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consultation concerning any financial issue facing you. We can
help. Please contact:
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