Identity Theft Prevention - Where to Start

By: Sam Ellis

We live in what's been called "a paperless society" -- and, at the same time, a society where we all must be aware of the methods of identity theft prevention.? Thanks to the popularity of the computer (the internet in particular), more people are turning away from bank lineups or the local utility to pay their bills. They are, unfortunately, becoming the victims of identity theft in the process.

It becomes important for consumers to know the principles of , since the concept is tied so closely with identity theft prevention. The two ideas really go hand in hand. So the question becomes: How much personal information can the average person find about him or herself online that can be damaging if it fell into the wrong hands?

When considering and the personal information readily available via the internet, it may surprise some people to know that even the most essential statistics quickly arrive at a criminal's fingertips.

For example, sites like Anybirthday.com give out -- you guessed it -- anyone's birthday. A birth date is a critical piece of information for people concerned with identity fraud prevention, since most thieves are looking for just this type of personal information to commit identity theft.

Other websites should be of concern for those trying to optimize identity theft prevention measures. Record search sites like completeddetective.com and findsomeone.com can locate previous and current addresses with only a person's first and last name. Criminal and civil court records are available through public databases.

Of course, the biggest possibility for identity theft comes from online accounts. While the Internet Age has made it easier for us to do our banking and pay our bills, any online account has the potential to be compromised. These include:* Bank Accounts* Services like PayPal* Accounts for your bill paying services.* Individual accounts with online merchants

An easy-to-guess PIN (personal identification number) or password affects the integrity of your private information and is very easy for identity thieves to determine -- more so than you'd like to believe. Choosing a strong password with random numbers, letters, or certain special characters (like exclamation points or dollar signs) are great for identity theft prevention.

Guard your passwords, personal identification number (PIN), and anything that could be used as an answer to a security question -- like your mother's maiden name. Even the most trusted person you know could unknowingly let your private passwords slip. The internet can be convenient and fast, but it is also a haven for possible information compromise. These simple suggestions are the first steps towards identity theft prevention and there are many more suggestions out there -- all you have to do is take the time to protect yourself.

Identity Theft
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