Identity theft is fast becoming a very serious crime in the UK. Its repercussions for the individual who has his or her identity stolen can be very serious and frustrating. Claiming back your own identity from the thief can be a slow and painful experience, often taking many months to be resolved. During this time, you may find it difficult to get a loan or a mortgage, even after the thief has stopped using your identity.
The biggest use of identity theft is in the hijacking of credit cards and information used to obtain new cards in the real user’s name. The best way to deal with these unscrupulous thieves is to not be caught out by their clever tricks and lose your identity in the first place.
A very large percentage of cases of identity theft stemmed from thieves obtaining information from credit cards and related documents. It is essential to safeguard your card and the associated paperwork.
Most of it is common sense, but on the other hand, if you’re not prone to being a thief yourself. You will probably never think of the clever moves that these nasty individuals use to get at the information that they need.
The first thing is that you should never allow anyone to borrow your credit card or get access to the card numbers. You may of course have perfect trust in a close member of your family, and they never deliberately do you any harm.
If you give your sister your card to use one day, will she no all the things to avoid identity theft? Will she inadvertently give away your information that will then be used by identity thieves. This is why it is best never to let anyone else use your card even if your total trust in them.
A lot of credit card fraud can happen simply because you do not keep your eye on your card and who is handling it, and what they are doing with the card. When handing over your card is very important to try to not let her out of your sight, even for a few seconds.
If you are at a restaurant, and the waiter comes over and you give him a card. The waiter will go off somewhere out of your sight to process it. This is a very bad idea, once out of your sight is incredibly easy for a waiter or other staff to electronically record all information from your card.
This process is performed with a piece of equipment smaller than a cigarette packet, and takes less than a second. If you are going to somewhere like a restaurant, or a bar, where the card may be out of your possession or sight. Don’t use it use it, use cash, if you don’t have the cash go to the bar or cashier’s desk and make your payment in person. Do not give your card to someone who takes it away, out of your sight.
The same can be true in shops, although it is not so much of a problem. In normal retail, outlets because you are usually stood with the cashier, do not let the cards out of your sight. Don’t wander off while they process, your payment, and don’t let your eyes look around the store, remember, the process of stealing your cards information takes less than a second.
Laws governing credit cards in the UK states that transaction receipts should not display your full card number only the last few digits. This is a welcome move by the government, but it is not a 100% guarantee that there will not be information on the receipt that an identity thief can use to their advantage. Do not leave the receipt behind always take them with you.
Credit card applications drop through the letterbox with alarming regularity. Each of these application forms is a goldmine for the potential thief. It is so simple for the thief to apply for that credit card that you did not want. It is easy for him to change the delivery address for the card on the application. Make sure to tell your postman, that you want him to push the post all the way through your letterbox. If you decide, you do not wish to make an application don’t just throw away the paperwork or even rip it up. Make sure shred it, to totally destroy it.
Using your credit card online can also be a tricky situation, although contrary to popular belief, online transactions are actually safer than the physical transactions with your card. Care must still be taken with all online purchases. The best option when making purchases online is to use major corporations that are household names. These are usually online versions of major department stores are highly trusted retailers.
Of course, not all things can be purchased from these types of companies. So when performing transactions with an online company that you do not know. You should make absolutely sure that their address (for payments) at the top of your screen begins with HTTPS not the usual HTTP. The ‘s’ stands for, secure, if you do not see this on the payment page your information can be read by anybody.
You should never respond to urgent e-mails from your bank that tells you that there is a problem with your credit card and you need to resolve it is immediately online. Nearly all these e-mails are fraudulent, if you think this may be a genuine communication about your credit card. Then call the number you will find on the back of your card.
Lastly, make absolutely sure that you check through every transaction on your credit card statement; try to compare them to your actual receipts. Any transaction that you cannot recall should be considered dubious until you have confirmed the payment with your credit card company.
You should always check that every transaction is valid; it is not only that a few pounds may be lost to credit card fraud. It may also indicate that someone is using a duplicate of your real card, or that your identity has been stolen
There is no real reason to be unduly concerned about using a credit card. As long, you follow the very simple and easy rules above it is unlikely that you will have any serious problems with identity theft, involving your credit cards.