How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
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.