Keeping Private Information Private
Identity theft, a vicious crime based on impersonating someone else, is becoming more and more prevalent. Recently, there has been a run of news items on this topic in the national media almost daily. One of the most disturbing aspects is that often these crimes are inside jobs? occurring at banks, mortgage companies, and similar places where sensitive personal information is housed. In these instances, where the crimes are large scale and well organized, there is not much the individual can do to prevent them.
During March and April 2005, numerous significant examples of large scale identity theft occurred. With help from a few corrupt insiders, several major banks and credit card companies were targeted, involving the compromise of personal information of millions of Americans.
However, there are various things you can do to handle those factors within your control. These include being aware of how your private information is used, who has access to it, and how it is handled. This involves shredding papers before disposing, keeping information secured or locked and away from those who do not need it.
Just because someone asks for information does not mean you are obliged to provide it. Find out if -- and why -- something is required before responding. You can also remove yourself from unwanted mailing lists, where your name and address is circulated.
When you understand why and how these crimes occur, it is easier to eliminate the opportunity. Simply becoming more aware of daily activities involving your information (i.e., using credit cards, putting out the trash, visiting web sites, etc.) should increase your caution. The more careful you are, the less opportunity for the thieves, and this is certainly a crime of opportunity.
By taking a few simple precautions, you may save yourself considerable suffering and grief. Identity theft is a violation of the worst sort, and the consequences are serious and lasting. Repairing your credit and getting your identity back can be done, but it is a lengthy expensive and tedious process.
About the Author: Norm McAlister is a writer and consultant with a background in security. For additional informationabout what you can do to protect yourself and those you love, go to http://www.SafeguardYourInfo.com.