How to Avoid Identify Theft
What is identify theft?
Identity theft is a fraud which involves someone pretending to be someone else, usually for the purpose of stealing money or gaining other financial benefits.
Identity theft occurs when somebody illegally uses the victim’s personal information to make purchases, open bank accounts, secure loans or conducting illegal business under your name. These fraudulent transactions can affect the victim’s credit rating and finances, and can be devastating both financially and emotionally if they are not detected and handled immediately.
Ways you can avoid identify theft
- When someone asks for your personal information, such as your IC (identity card) or credit card number, find out how the information will be used and if it will be shared with others.
- Always check your billing statements. If your bills don’t arrive on time, contact your creditors. A missing credit card bill might mean that an identity thief has changed your billing address and is using your account.
- Do not hand your IC to someone you don’t trust. Your IC my get photocopied and used without your consent.
- Do not give out personal and financial information over the phone, online or through the mail. Thieves can pose as bankers, government officials, or others to get you to reveal your IC number, your bank account number or other personal details.
- Keep items with your personal information safe. Don’t just throw away receipts, credit card applications, or old checks or billing statements. Make sure you shred them first.
- Don’t use a number that a person could easily associate with you (such as a birth date, Social Security number, or phone number) when setting up your Personal Identification Number or PIN for your ATM or debit card.
- Review your credit report every year. Detect mistakes and fraud before they ruin your personal finances.