Exposing Identity Theft Prevention

By: MIKE SELVON

Identity theft prevention has been a very real issue in our society for some time now. There are plenty of cases of online identity theft and fraud, but not all the scams are online.

Not all thieves are working through computers to steal your identity and take you for a financial ride. Some of the most dangerous possible identity theft scenarios don't involve computers at all, but they can still clean out the unaware consumer.

One of the oldest and most devastating scams involves the ATM machine. Thieves can install equipment on otherwise legitimate machines that steal ATM card and PIN numbers. An attachment fits over the original slot and is used to capture the information from the card as the ATM is used.

The thieves usually hide nearby and receive the wireless transmissions from the doctored ATMs. With the stolen information, they can commit identity theft and fraud worth thousands by withdrawing from the accounts. Theft prevention relies on consumer awareness.

Watch out for ATM machines that appear out of place or any machines that look like they could have a card reader attached to them. A lot of these are so cleverly made, you may not notice anything different, but any machine that asks you to reenter your PIN more than once could be a telltale sign.

Trust your instincts. This may be your best weapon for identity theft prevention. Use ATM machines located in banks, and check the card reader to determine seamless integration with the machine.

The telephone is another area where possible identity theft and fraud are committed. It works this way: the would-be thief phones to tell you he or she is investigating fraudulent charges on your card, often regarding a credit company that you've never heard of.

The thief then tries to convince you to give out your card number, your name as it appears on the card, and the card's expiration date. Theft prevention entails that you hang up and call the number on your credit card to ask about any possible identity theft investigation.

Another possible identity theft scam involving credit cards is carried out when the person calling says he or she needs to verify your card information at an online merchant or pay service. You can be a smart consumer and practice theft prevention by not giving out your credit card number to anyone soliciting information.

Identity theft and fraud are all around in our modern world, but consumers can learn how to avoid a large percentage of the crime simply by being educated.

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