Act Against Identity Theft Scam And Protect Your Wealth

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Your identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name.

Criminals commit identity theft by stealing your personal information. This is often done by taking documents from your trash or by making contact with you and pretending to be from a legitimate organization.

Identity theft can result in fraud affecting your personal financial circumstances, as well as costing government and financial services millions of dollars a year. If your identity is stolen, you may have difficulty getting loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is sorted out.

It is a real and terrifying threat. The following tips will help you protect your identity and prevent criminals from committing fraud in your name:

Keep your personal information secure

· Your identity and personal information are valuable assets. Keep them secure.

· Be extra careful if you live in a property where other people could have access to your mail. In some cases a bank or credit card company could arrange for you to collect valuable items such as new plastic cards or chequebooks from a local branch.

· If you move house, tell your bank, card issuer and all other organisations that you deal with immediately. Ask the post office to redirect any mail from your old address to your new one for at least a year.

Keep all your credit cards safe

· If your plastic cards are lost or stolen, cancel them immediately. Keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call.

· When giving your card details or personal information over the phone, Internet or in a shop, make sure other people cannot hear or see your personal information.

· Never carry documents or plastic cards unnecessarily. When not in use keep them in a safe place.

Keep your documents safe

· Keep your personal documents in a safe place, preferably in a lockable drawer or cabinet at home. Consider storing valuable financial documents such as share certificates with your bank.

· If your passport or driving licence has been lost or stolen contact the issuing organisation immediately.

· Don't throw away entire bills, receipts, credit-or debit-card slips, bank statements or even unwanted post in your name. Destroy unwanted documents, preferably by using a shredder.

· Check statements as soon as they arrive. If any unfamiliar transactions are listed, contact the company concerned immediately.

Keep your passwords and PINs safe

· Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly. Be suspicious even if they claim to be from your bank or the police. Ask for their phone number, check it is genuine and, if so, call them back. Be aware that a bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password. Keep them secure.

· Don't use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites. Using different passwords increases security and makes it less likely that someone could access any other accounts.

· Keep your passwords safe and never record or store them in a manner which leaves them open to theft, such as in your purse or wallet.

When it identity theft strikes, the effects can be devastating. What's more, because it frequently involves no physical theft, identity theft may not be noticed by its victims until significant damage has been done - often, several months and thousands of dollars later. By following these simple but effective precautions you will be protecting yourself and your family from the terrible heartache and financial problems that this crime brings.

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