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Identity Theft, Shredders and Online Purchases

Identity theft is big news.  And, it can take many different forms.  Recent examples in the news have shown that relatives can be the culprit more times than you might think.  One victim found that her sister was using her identity to run up purchases in another city, while another found that it was her mother.  But, it’s far more likely that identities will be stolen by unknown criminals who get your account information and/or your social security number in ways you wouldn’t expect.

One fear that has kept many from buying products and services online with their credit cards is the security issue.  In fact, most sites have by now developed very good security, and you can help by not having them save your card number for later use to make your future purchases more convenient.  Also, change your online passwords regularly, some experts advising that you do it monthly.  Other experts also state that you’re far more likely to have your identity and credit card information stolen in person than over the Internet.

How many times do you hand your credit card to a restaurant or store employee who disappears into a back room to execute the charge?  While receipts may only print the last four digits of the card number, the employee could be writing it down or using a manual imprint machine copy to get your card information.  While some have called businesses when they forgot and left their card, successfully getting it back, it’s recommended that if this ever happens you should immediately report it lost and get a new one.

Buy a $75 shredder too.  Don’t’ throw any documents away that have personal information on them.  It can take years to straighten out your business after identity theft.

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