How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

How To Protect Yourself From Identity TheftPin

Do You Know How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft?

Do you allow online vendors to store your credit or debit card information on their website? Do you use an app where you store your credit or debit card information? Do you know how to protect yourself from identity theft?

In today’s fast paced society, many Americans do just that so that they can make purchases more quickly. Actually, almost 100 million of our citizens are doing that.

Is it wise or safe to do that just to make a purchase one minute faster? Obviously, many will say yes, until the day that particular vendor has their website hacked. Then, when a hacker starts making purchases on that site with your credit card, your opinion will probably change.

Suppose you store a debit card instead of a credit card on some merchant’s website and it gets hacked? The hacker can wipe all of the funds from your bank account and then the bank starts to bounce checks that you wrote. You may get reimbursed later, but in the meantime, you could have some very embarrassing moments trying to explain why a check bounced.

I guess the answer to the wise or safe question is MAYBE. As long as you know how to protect yourself from identity theft and understand that no website is 100% safe, and has a good chance of being hacked, you may tolerate the risk. As an example, the IRS used to brag how safe their site was. Early this year, hackers got in and stole close to a million taxpayer accounts, including their social security numbers.

I personally make a lot of purchases online and don’t allow any vendor to store credit card information. Even doing that is no guarantee that some unknown vendor wouldn’t use the information anyway. I use one credit card for online purchases and have all of the pertinent information memorized.

Just remember, if you store your credit card information on a website for convenience, it works both ways. It’s also convenient for a hacker when he gets in. You’re probably aware, that today, hackers from all over the world, are doing their nefarious attempts to steal personal information.

It’s actually not very difficult to do either. Many con men don’t even bother wasting their time trying to hack to get the information. I attended a seminar last fall hosted by the IRS criminal investigation division and the agent showed everyone how easy it was to get information.

He had a laptop with a special browser and went on the Dark Web. He pulled up a listing where someone was selling five thousand individuals’ names, addresses, social security numbers, etc. The cost was $4,000.00.

That may seem high, but when you realize that a scammer could file that many tax returns with refunds in the range of $5,000.00 each. As a matter of fact, in 2016 when 2015 tax returns were being filed, the IRS issued over a BILLION dollars in fake refunds to thieves who were using stolen ID’s!

We can’t emphasize enough for you to be extremely careful where ever you use your credit or debit card. You must know how to protect yourself from identity theft. Many stores/vendors are honest and do their best to safeguard your information. BUT, it only takes one dis-honest merchant to make your life miserable.

At least once each quarter, review your credit report for any suspicious activity. Every month, review your bank account and credit card statements for un-authorized charges, no matter how small. And, be careful in allowing anyone to store your personal information. You could be the next victim of identity theft.


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12 responses to “How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft”

  1. Avatar of Haly N. (@HalyReviews) Haly N. (@HalyReviews) says:

    I frequently shop online, and to be honest, I’ve never worried about identity theft before, but this article has got me thinking. I mostly use the major websites like Amazon or eBay, and since they are the sharks of the industry, I just automatically assumed that I can trust them with my personal information. But if even the IRS had problems with hackers breaking through their security system and stealing information, then I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    • Avatar of Gust Lenglet Gust Lenglet says:

      We can’t stress enough the importance of protecting yourself from identity theft. It really doesn’t matter how big or how careful an Internet store is, there’s a hacker somewhere who is smart enough to get in. The hacks of the IRS, Target, Home Depot, and Equifax, are good examples. Some foreign governments are training people to be hackers.

  2. Avatar of Tina Tina says:

    Wow this article was really an eye opener. I use a lot of various online shopping sites and I store my personal information on them mainly because it’s convenient to shop there again. I never really thought about the risks that come along with that. I need to be more careful in the future.

    • Avatar of Gust Lenglet Gust Lenglet says:

      Thanks Tina. I used to store my credit card information with various vendors years ago but stopped. No matter how much they say that their site is hack proof, all that means is that no one got through yet. I can recall years ago when the IRS bragged about their site. Last year, they got hacked and the thieves got about 800,000 accounts. No one is hack proof!!

  3. Avatar of Jason Stewart Jason Stewart says:

    This is very helpful, thank you Gust. Every time I shop online, I’m very careful not to leave any of my details to the vendor. It is very surprising how easy it is to have your identity stolen, but what is even more surprising is the fact that many people don’t know how to protect their identities or what to do after their identity is stolen

  4. Avatar of Marcie Marcie says:

    Are there any suggestions you would make in order to keep yourself safe while working online? Many people get paid via online transactions, is there anyway to protect yourself from “buyers” on the web?

    • Avatar of Gust Lenglet Gust Lenglet says:

      Thanks for your comment Marcie. I have a hard and fast rule when making a financial transaction on the web..”trust no one”. I don’t allow any vendor to store my credit card info. No matter what any one says, no website is 100% secure. I also tend to buy from well known vendors. As a backup. I use LifeLock as an identity theft service which may be overkill, but it gives me a big comfort factor.

  5. Avatar of Diana Diana says:

    I had something like this happen to my friend. She was using these shopping apps on her phone that would save all of her info and let her proceed with the orders with just one tap on the screen. Then one day she noticed that there was quite a big amount of money missing from her bank account. It took her months to sort it all out and get her money back. I’m a lot more careful now with protecting myself from identity theft online. Better safe than sorry.

    • Avatar of Gust Lenglet Gust Lenglet says:

      Diana, that happens so frequently, it can scare anyone. That kind of shopping can be very convenient, but when a vendor gets hacked, and gets your credit information, it usually is a nightmare. I personally never allow any vendor to store my credit information.

  6. Avatar of John Smith John Smith says:

    Oops. I am discontinuing this habit from now onwards. I wouldn’t want anyone hacking a web site I’ve stored my information and making away with my hard-earned money. It’s just bad that a lot of people still store their information and don’t know what they can get themselves into.

    • Avatar of Gust Lenglet Gust Lenglet says:

      A smart decision John. A lot of these small sites are holding credit information and may not have strong security in place.

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