Guarding against internet identity thefts

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 In the last five years, 41% of Americans have faced credit, debit or prepaid card fraud, and about half of people who engage in “risky behavior” such as, writing down a pin number or throwing away documents with banking information on them, end up being victims.

Statistics show that 50% of people who engaged in those activities were victims of card fraud, compared with the 38% of people who did not but still experienced fraud.

The U.S. ties with India as the country with the third-highest card fraud rate over the last five years, behind China at 42% and the United Arab Emirates at 44%.

 

  • Identify what would be the most devastating for the individual to lose

For example, your credit if you are looking to buy a house in the future or funds in your bank account if you have substantial funds you have saved up for a vacation

 

  • Determine ways to protect those assets

If this is credit, maybe set up periodic credit monitoring

If this is cash, make the cash less liquid

If you are on a fixed income, such as those getting social security, ensure that those funds are not vulnerable

Use a credit card company that carefully monitors your spending are reports them to you in an easy to view manner

 

  • Put your plan into place

Talk to your bank to ensure that your assets are as safe as you need them to be

 

  • Be sure to further consider measures to make your assets safer.

If you don't need to use your credit and you suspect that someone has your information, put a freeze on your credit.

Continue to shore up any vulnerabilities as your life changes.  For example, if you don't need that bank card that is attached to your checking account, trade it for an ID only card.

 

  • Check your credit report annually to be sure nothing slipped through the cracks
  • Don’t give your real name, address, email, birthdate to websites or companies unless necessary.
  • Look for signs of suspicious emails such as odd URL’s, deals too good to be true & requests for personal info.
  • Beware of an email that says “act fast”- it’s to trick you into not looking into the email details
  • Don’t be afraid to wipe your computer clean. Reinstall the Operating System.

Jibey Asthappan; Dir. Nat’l Security Program/Asst. Prof. Criminal Justice, Univ. Of New Haven