I don’t have to worry about Identity Theft because no one would want to be me. But you might be so lucky (or unlucky depending how pessimistic you are). Most people think they’ll get their identity stolen by hackers or , but their are much more likely scenarios. Since you are such a great friend of mine I thought I’d share some of them with you.
Are you still getting credit card statements in the mail like it’s 1998? Stop it. It’s not very hard for some dude to open your mail box and steal your statement. Most statements have your credit card number printed right on the top.
Switch to getting your statements on the internet instead. Believe it or not, it’s much safer plus you’ll help save a tree. Also it’ll give the mailman less stuff to carry and lead to the impending doom the USPS faces of closing anyway.
If you do insist on getting physical statements, don’t just toss it in the garbage when you are done looking at it. Shred it, burn it, eat it… whatever it takes. If somebody finds your credit card statement in the trash it’s like finding gold.
You protect your credit card at all times, but then when you eat out at the Cracker Barrel you let the waiter making less than minimum wage disappear with your credit card for minutes.
What could he be doing while he has your card? Selling your number to terrorists? Buying that Hello Kitty Banana Holder he always wanted? Just simply charging your meal to it? Who knows?
There are skimmers that attach to phones now. One simple swipe and that waiter has all your credit card info.
Obliviously you have to carry your credit cards with you, otherwise they would be kind of pointless. But you do not need to carry your Social Security card with you. Leave that thing at home. You lose your wallet, you lose your identity.
A good idea is to photocopy the front and back of all credit cards you carry with you. That way if you lose your wallet you have instant access to all the information you need to cancel all your cards.
A few more tips:
Make sure you check your credit card statements online at least once a week, that way if suspicious charges start appearing you can nip it in the bud right away.
Don’t answer emails from Nigerian princes. At this point if you do, you probably deserve to have your identity stolen.
Be wary of friends on Facebook or other social media suddenly asking you to wire them money. It’s not too uncommon for someone to hack into someone’s Facebook and then message all their friends with some kind of sob story about how they need money all the sudden.
And never, never wire money to someone. Services like Western Union are untraceable. If you use one of these services you might as well just shred your money along with your credit card statements.