Identity theft, or simply ID theft, is the fastest growing crime in America. The reason is simple; it pays and often the criminals off with light sentences. This article offers ways to prevent identity theft.
You should also know that that there are different forms of identity theft. Some of these are as follows:
1. Full identity theft: someone steals your data and then goes on to live as you. He/she will pose or disguise his/herself as you, obtain an identification documents and then clean you out - that is bank account, credit lines etc.
2. Credit hijacking: The thief will simply use your name and good credit to open new credit lines and then go on spending sprees, of course, without paying the bills. You only realize when you either get denied credit, get a call from your bank or some other bank or creditor, or receive a bill you have no idea about.
3. Synthetic identity theft: This involves using bits and pieces of personal information from several victims to create a whole new identity. This is perhaps the most difficult form of ID theft to detect.
There are the obvious precautions anyone can take and often offered as preventive ways. These will probably stop a petty thief, but the modern ID thief is much more sophisticated.
These mundane identity theft prevention ways include advice such as "shred your documents", "don't carry your social security card in your wallet", and "don't throw documents in the trash" and the like. Good measures, but the sophisticated thief would laugh at these.
You can stop most ID thieves on their tracks by placing a fraud alert on your credit file with the three major credit bureaus. Unlike credit monitoring, which alerts you after the fact, with a fraud alert you get contacted before any new credit lines are opened.
A fraud alert is only good for three months. After three months, you have to renew it, which the bureaus are not enthusiastic to do as they make money by selling your information to third parties for marketing purposes (which they cannot do if you have a fraud alert on your file).
You should also invest in a good antivirus and spyware remover for your computer. Keystroke loggers can get downloaded into your system, without you realizing it. Keystroke loggers track everything typed into a computer and then report back to the scammer via the Internet.