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Identity theft is what's known as "a knowledge crime," which means that criminal doesn't have to break into your house to rob you blind. If you have a bank account and a social security number, you are susceptible to identity theft.
While most people are familiar with identity theft, most business men and women never think about it happening to them, at least on a professional level. Consider this: if a criminal can learn your business checking account number or number of your company credit card, they can steal far more from your business than if they had simply knocked down door and carted off your desk.
The Internet aside, most business and personal identity theft is still result of stolen wallets and dumpster diving. You should guard your business records closely and be very careful what you throw away. Stop and think for a moment what a criminal might find in dumpster behind your office.
There's a good chance that dumpster has, at various times, contained scraps of paper with your social security number, driver's license number, credit card number, old ATM cards, telephone calling cards, and other pieces of vital business information like bank statements, invoices, and purchase orders. A dumpster-diving thief could literally rob your business blind in a matter of hours.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from business and personal identity theft.
· Never give out your first name, last name, business name, email address, account passwords, credit card numbers, bank account information, PIN number, social security number, or driver's license number.
· Change your online account passwords every 30 days. Believe it or not, a hacker who steals your personal information can guess your online account passwords in about two minutes. If your Charles Schwab online account password is your birthday or name of your first born or family pet, count on a hacker cracking that code faster than you can say "Bill Gates."
· Never provide personal information in response to an email or telephone call. Just because someone calls and says they are from Dunn & Bradstreet and need to confirm your business information does not mean they are really from Dunn & Bradstreet.
· Never give your business credit card number over phone to place an order with someone who has called you unsolicited. If you are interested in what they are selling get their number, check out their company, then call them back to place order.
If you think that you have become victim of identity theft or think someone is trying to steal your identity or personal information you should report them immediately to Federal Trade Commission. You will find more information on their website at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/. For more information on what to do if identity theft happens to you visit http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17a.htm.
So, if you ever receive an email from PayPal, Amazon, eBay, or any other ecommerce website asking you to update your account information by email you can pretty much bet farm that it is a scam.
Here's to your success.
Tim Knox, Founder For more information on starting your own online business visit http://www.dropshipwholesale.net, website for online entrepreneurs.
Tim Knox as the president and CEO of two successful technology companies: B2Secure Inc., a Web-based hiring management software company; and Digital Graphiti Inc., a software development company. Tim is also the founder of dropshipwholesale.net, an ebusiness dedicated to the success of online entrepreneurs. http://www.dropshipwholesale.net http://www.smallbusinessqa.com