Identity Fraud - Don't Make It Easy

By Mike White

I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know that even during these times of the credit crunch there is still one industry enjoying a growth period, unfortunately, it's Identity Theft ... the easiest way for fraudsters to blight your life and stress you still further!

Combating the risk of identity fraud should be high on everyone's agenda but some people are still unsure what it actually is. Without putting to fine a point on it, it is literally the theft of your identity both personal and financial. An alias using your identity and financial information could literally drain your accounts and put you into debt into the bargain.

Do you know how easy it is to get a copy of your own or somebody else's birth certificate? TOO easy!!! Do you routinely shred your bank and credit card statements after processing them?

Applying a little common sense can go a long way with a little change in your thought processes. For example the next time you receive one of those annoying "you've been pre approved" credit card offers, before you throw it straight in the bin ask yourself why you are happy to give the chance to a complete stranger to obtain your (all but your signature) completed form. That's surely asking for trouble.

If you bank online and don't consider any of the above a risk then, you still need to consider your internet usage habits. We have all been educated to not use the same passwords and serial numbers for all our accounts and transaction, but living in the real world we all struggle to remember numerous password and user combinations and tend to use the same one leaving ourselves wide open.

Is your antivirus updated regularly, do you always download the updates as they come in, will LATER be soon enough, or will it be too late? When you upgrade your computer systems, a new laptop for Xmas a bargain in the sales or maybe an online auction purchase, how do you dispose of your old system, in particular your hard drive?

It is much easier than you think for a computer technician to recover your details from your hard drive, even when you think you have deleted them. Or for a data recovery expert to recover the deleted partition when you formatted or wiped them off with free software; after all a data recovery company can recover your information even if it's a few months out of date.

If you are concerned with digital theft or the possibility of identity theft then you can arranged to have your drive shredded by a certified contractor or securely wiped which is much more environmentally friendly as it allows for the re-use of the none data holding components. Secure destruction or wiping ensures you get a certificate showing when, where and by whom the drive was rendered beyond recovery and have peace of mind.

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