You hear about it on the news all to often today, another retailer or online website hit by hackers, and millions of Americans identity information and credit card numbers stolen. Many of these same people are unaware that their data has been compromised. Sometimes it seems as if the internet is a minefield of hacking and data theft. Credit card fraud is on the rise and experts predict it will only get worse. These criminals are adept at overcoming obstacles, as well as staying several steps ahead of the law.
Yet you can protect yourself and your data from many forms of fraud. Your first task in safe guarding your data is to understand the many different methods these crooks use to obtain your data. One method that dates back decades is still in use today, and this method crooks use is totally preventable. Some crooks will go through either your trash or the dumpster of businesses looking for any paper documents with sensitive information on them. While you cannot prevent a crook from dumpster diving at a business, no crook should ever find documents or letters in your trash with information on them. A simple paper shredder will do the trick, simply run any paper with sensitive information on it through your shredder.
Another method crooks use is to insert a device into credit card scanners that can swipe your data. Even restaurant waiters have been known to swipe customers data. Never allow your card out of your eye sight. Examine the device where you swipe your credit cards, look for anything that does not appear to belong. Often times you will be able to spot these devices by visual inspection, also you can discover them often times by giving the swipe device a little shake and listening for anything loose. If you hear anything loose or if anything does not look right do not use the credit card reader.
Another danger is telemarketing fraud. It could be a special travel offer or a fancy new item that’s all the rage at the moment with consumers, anything to get you to open your wallet and provide your credit card number, CVC 3 digit code and date of expiration. Once armed with this information, the crooks then have all they need to drain your credit line. senior citizens tend to be the major victims of this crime, but people of all ages can face being a victim of this crime. Never give out your credit card info to unknown businesses, and you should avoid doing business with telemarketers all together.
Another method these crooks use is electronic pick-pocketing. Thieves can use special scanners to steal your credit card information, even when it is in your wallet or purse. It is also known as crowd hacking. Air ports, stores, cafes, anywhere business is being conducted can be a location for these crooks to post up to steal your information. They do not need to touch you to swipe your info. You can however prevent this type of data theft thanks to special wallets being sold today, aluminum wallets. You could also opt to buy the Signal Vault,” which provides an electronic safety shield around all of the credit and debit cards in your wallet.
Not all data theft can be prevented, but the methods I outlined above can be prevented. To catch the rest you should check your credit report at least every 4 months, if not monthly. There is also a service called LifeLock which can help to prevent stolen information from being used to financially harm you.