How To Combat Identity Theft And Fraud - Part 2

20 Tips for Protecting Your Identity and Preserving Your Privacy (Continued)

When you pay with a credit card or debit card in a restaurant or store, watch the server or clerk run your card. Clerks and servers won't be tempted to steal your card numbers if you keep an eye on them at all times.

Don't enter your credit card/debit card data online unless the site has SSL protection. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a browser and web server. This level of security is basic and should be considered fundamental if you plan to pay anyone for anything online.

Pay online with credit cards instead of debit cards. Convenience and lack of interest charges notwithstanding, federal law provides greater protection for purchases made by credit cards than it does for purchases made by debit cards or through online payment services (like PayPal).[1] Paying by debit card is like paying with cash, and it can be harder to get off the hook if your debit card gets hit with an illicit charge.

Clear your logins and passwords and change them often. You should change your passwords every 2-3 months, and never let a site save your username, login code or password for future use.

Avoid phishing scams. Spam emails and uninvited pop-ups are bad news, especially if they ask for your personal information and credit/debit card numbers. To avoid the risk of phishing, respond only to advertisements or email requests that you intentionally solicit or that appear on sites you've chosen to visit.

Keep your browser and anti-virus software current and up-to-date. Never refuse calls to update your browser, and you should seriously consider purchasing proven anti-virus software instead of only using the free stuff.

Sign up for automatic bill pay whenever possible. Paying bills by recurrent electronic withdrawal eliminates the need to enter your payment data repeatedly, and it also eliminates paper bills that might contain some of your personal information.

Use NFC mobile technology to pay retailers. NFC (near field communication) lets you pay by smartphone if your retailer has payment terminals that are NFC compatible (thankfully, the technology is spreading fast). Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Play systems will encrypt your credit card data and make it impossible for identity thieves to pierce that protective veil.

Never give out credit card numbers, social security numbers, or any other personal information to telemarketers. Despite the rise of the Internet, phone-based identity theft scams are still common. Hanging up on telemarketers as a matter of principle is your best protection against this type of skullduggery.

Don't assume a missing credit or debit card will simply turn up. When you can't find your card, you should contact your Credit Card Company or financial institution immediately to report the loss. If the card turns up later, you can always call them again to let them know.

When you have any reason to suspect identity theft, phone it in right away. Once you contact your bank or credit card company, your financial liability from identity theft ceases. That is a good thing.

Securing Your Identity is Your Choice
Every year nine million Americans (three percent of the population) are victimized by identity theft. In a worst-case scenario, this type of fraud could cost you tens of thousands of dollars and do damage to your credit rating and good name, which could take years to undo. You don't have to join the list of unfortunate victims. If you're diligent about protecting the sanctity and integrity of your finances, you can reduce your risk of identity theft by a substantial margin.