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Ways to prevent identity theft

Updated on May 30, 2011

Nowadays pshishing sharks are so rampant that a lot of unsuspecting people have fallen prey to Internet banking frauds and had millions of dollars being stolen from their banking accounts. They just simply need a chance of getting some personal information such as name, address, identity card number, birth date, credit card or bank account numbers or other identifying data and then you are already at their mercy. Hence, we all need to be vigilant to ensure we do not become an easy prey to these Internet thieves. The following are guidelines on how to prevent identity theft.

  1. Carefully dispose important documents

    Important documents containing your identity card, credit card numbers, address and mobile phone numbers should not just be simply crushed and dumped into plastic bags for disposal. The ideal way is to shred it so completely that these important information cannot be pieced together. If you have any cancelled credit card, do not just simply cut it into halves. Make sure the chip is destroyed to prevent thieves from tampering with it.
  2. Avoid giving information freely through phone calls

    Ifyou receive phone calls requesting for personal information, personal passwords or personal identification numbers, be alert and careful. Do not give them freely away. If you are not too sure whether to trust the caller or not, the best way is to call up the bank or to physically pay a visit to the bank to confirm. Take note that banks will never ask for these personal information as they already have them. The banks will only request for these personal information as a form of verification provided you are the one making calls to them. However, if you had made a call to the bank to report on a lost credit card or requesting for increase in credit card limit, they may not call you back to verify your identity card number or other data verification such as your mother’s maiden name.
  3. Make sure you check your monthly statements

    All credit card and bank statements should be check every month to ensure there are no strange transactions, fraudulent withdrawals from your bank accounts or fraudulent charges to credit cards.
  4. Monitor your credit card

    Watch where your credit cards are taken and charged especially when making payments in restaurants. Avoid giving credit cards to the waiters. The best way is to personally pay at the cashier’s counter.

    Usually when checking into a hotel, a preliminary copy stating the limit of your charges will be printed by the hotel. Upon checkout, a second or final copy is again printed. The merchants do not actually need the first copy so if possible request for that and destroy it.
  5. Track your important mails

    Check and make sure you always receive your monthly credit card and bank statements. If there are any missing statements, quickly contact the relevant parties immediately. Do not request for important documents such as new credit cards or new cheque books to be sent through post. The best way is to collect them personally from your banks. If you are going outstation, make sure to arrange with somebody to collect your mails or request for the postal office to hold them for you until you come home.
  6. Cross photocopies of your identity card

    If you are enclosing Photostat copies of your identity card with applications, make sure you cross the copies with 2 diagonal lines and specify that it is for the bank’s use only
  7. Clear cache after each online banking

    Whenever you perform any online banking at home or at work, make sure you immediately clear your cache after exiting from the bank’s website. This will prevent thieves from tracking your online movements and making it difficult for them to link it up with their fraudulent mirror site.
  8. Regularly update anti-virus and perform clean-ups

    Make sure your anti-virus software or programs are up-to-date. Run a check frequently. If possible, install anti-virus software, anti-spam filter and a good firewall. These can help to detect and eliminate any crimeware threats that may be hiding in your computer unknown by you.
  9. Do not open emails with unknown names or sources

    If you see an unfamiliar email address, do not even click on the email. The very act of clicking is opening the door for the malicious software to be implanted into your computer. Just delete it straightaway.
  10. Do not perform important transactions via public wireless internet connection

    Do not access any banking websites using the free wireless internet connections in public places like cafes and restaurants as external parties can tap in and start tracking all your keystrokes to use later.
  11. No personal information in passwords

    When creating your passwords for online banking, do not use personal data such as identity card numbers, birthdates, or driving license number. When the thief happen to steal your wallet they can easily guess your passwords by just trying out those personal data.
  12. Do not send personal data over phones or emails

    Unless you are sure that the website is a secured website such as bank website, then ensure you do not provide your identity card number through email or SMS through phone.
  13. Check security when making online payments

    When making online purchases and using credit card as payments, you will be asked to enter the 3 digit CVV code at the back of your credit card. If you are taken to your credit cards (Visa or MasterCard) systems where there is an additional security gateway, which will prevent the merchants from accessing your CVV number, then you are safe to enter your CVV number. Never ever provide the CVV number over the phone.


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    • profile image

      Jeff_McRitchie 6 years ago

      This Hub is full of great suggestions. Shredding is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft.

    • Tashi88 profile image

      Tashi88 6 years ago

      perfect reminders