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How to Combat Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious and growing problem. It’s estimated that one in every twenty-five Americans are victims of identity theft.

Identity theft involves using another person’s identity -without that person’s consent. Often, identity thieves will go to great lengths to steal someone’s identity. Usually, identity theft is used to commit identity fraud, which is when the stolen identity is used to commit criminal activity; such as hijacking a bank account, or credit card. Other times, thieves use the victim’s identity to apply for credit cards in the victim’s name, running up extensive debts that they have no intention of paying back.

While most people think of identity thieves as shady characters who rummage around in garbage bins looking for unshredded documents, the truth is that identity theft often happens closer to home.

Identity thieves often do their work online. With the internet comes the transfer of information at a rate that is faster than ever before, which makes it easier than ever for thieves to access information that would otherwise have been more difficult to obtain.

While identity theft can happen, even to the most diligent person, there are some things that you can do to make it more difficult for thieves to steal your information.

Here are some precautions that you can take to stay safe online.

Stay Safe When Shopping Online
Exercise caution when shopping online. Make your purchases from secure, well-known websites. If purchasing through a website that is unfamiliar to you, look for the seals of endorsement such as the BBB (Better business bureau) approval, or the Trust-e logo.

Only Use Secure Sites for Payment Transactions
Make sure your online payments are made on secure and encrypted sites. Find out if you are on a secure site by checking the address bar and looking at the website’s URL. You will know that you are on a secure site if the website transaction page begins with “https” rather than the usual “http.”

Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are tactics in which thieves create webpages that look similar to bank websites. They will then email and asking you to take action; the link they give you will go to their webpage. Never reply to emails that request personal information. Banks will never request personal, confidential information from you via email.

Be Careful When Using Public Computers
Avoid entering personal information such as account numbers on public or shared computers. Take care to sign out of email accounts when you are finished.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, contact the licensed private investigators of Houston Detective, John McMahon and Associates, LLC.

John McMahon and Associates provide investigative services for victims of identity theft and identity fraud.


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