In most parts of the world, identity fraud is the fastestgrowing offence. Yet, in the USA, a longitudinal 2005 studyby Javelin Strategy & Research showed that the crime had decreased since a 2003 study from the Federal Trade Commission was released in 2003. The most current US Javelin data also showed that 9.3 million persons, being4.25% of all adults, are victims of identity fraud on a yearly basis. In the United Kingdom in 2005 the consumer group Which issued a report stating that one in four people had been the victim of identity fraud, or knew someone who had been a victim.
Rigorous research has shown that the following methodswill be most effective at preventing identity theft or fraud:
Freeze your credit, if available in your state. With a creditfreeze, no one can open any form of credit in your name.
Request your own credit report each year and check thereports for inaccuracies and new lines of credit issued that you did not request.
Minimize the use of mail for sending or receiving financial documents, checks, and have your name removed from junk mail lists (8% of identity fraud results from stolen mail).
Check your bank accounts each week online or at an ATM.70% of identity fraud is detected by the victim, and victimswho do so through electronic methods suffer losses of lessthan 1/8th that of those who rely on paper statements for monitoring account activity.
Use reliable ATMs at reputable sites only. Watch your surroundings for anything suspicious. If the interior of abank is closed but an indoor ATM is still accessible with a card, refuse helping any stranger to enter.
Watch your surrounding when entering sensitive codes of information at an ATM or on a telephone keypad.
Do not use wireless phones or cellular phones to talk about sensitive information.
Shred credit-card receipts, used (processed)cheques/checks, junk mail and other such documents, as they may contain private information.
Never give out personal information in response totelemarketers and delete all e-mails that claim to be fromyour bank (or other financial provider) and ask you to "log in" using a hyperlink embedded in the e-mail message. This type of scam is also named phishing.
When shopping online, make sure the company isreputable and displays an approved security symbol.
Watch your surroundings when using a credit card at anycheckout counters or any similar places as some identity thieves use cell phones with cameras to steal others credit card numbers and expiration dates.
Limit the amount of personal information you publish on the web.
Do not allow anyone to copy your identification documents.
If someone calls you claiming to be from a financialinstitution you do business with asking for personal information - do not give it to them.
As a general rule, do not do business with people thatcome to you. If you want something, you find the business or company.
Dont order checks preprinted with your drivers license or social security number.
Dont carry your social security card unless absolutely needed.
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