Identity Theft ran rampant in the year of 2006. We saw a record number of exposures of personal data, rounding out the top of the list with The Department of Veterans Affairs exposing more then 28 million records. Also in 2006, a milestone of 100 million victims had been exposed to some type of data breach.
Were you one of those 100 million people? That amount of exposure tells us that our personal information is accessible in a various number of ways. There were exposures all through out the United States. No one knows the true amount of exposures since not all the states have a disclosure law like California.
Here are some tips on preventing your personal information from being obtained, ways that you have control over the access to your data.
Concerning mail, when throwing away mail that contains any personal information, you may want to invest in a cross-shredder, so that the documents are unreadable. Look into getting a locking mailbox. Notify the Postmaster if you notice any mail missing, such as bills or bank statements that you are expecting.
Opt-out of unsolicited phone calls or mail by visiting www.dmaconsumers.org. There you can opt-out and add you information to not receive mail, phone and email solicitations.
Make a copy of all your credit cards and ATM cards so that if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, you have the 800 numbers and card number to report it stolen. If you are traveling in a foreign country, carry your identification in a secured bag that is attached to your body to prevent purse snatching or pick-pocketing.
Keep your computer up to date with antivirus software and critical patches and updates from the Operating System’s vendor. Have some type of spyware/adware scanner installed as well. Perform regular scans on your computer, with the most recent definitions provided by the software maker. Have some type of firewall, whether its hardware or software, to prevent intrusions into your personal information. Also for additional security, make use of a username and difficult password on your computer to prevent unauthorized access. Do not open any emails with attachments from someone you don’t know, and always be careful opening emails with attachments from someone you do know. It may be a good idea to verify that they did send the email to you, as they may have gotten infected and not known about it. Banking institutions will not ask you for your personal information through an email, and in fact, most if not all major businesses will not ask you for personal information through email.
Founder of http://www.whoelseisme.com , the site was created in order to help people not only recover from Identity Theft, but to prevent Identity Theft from happening to them.