How To Protect Yourself From Identity TheftWritten by Gary Gresham
While nothing is ever foolproof you can learn how to protect yourself from identity theft. Identity theft is fastest growing crime in America today with victims reporting new cases to authorities at an alarming rate. Last year alone in 2004, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft scams. Those crimes cost them nearly $5 billion. That number of victims and their losses are probably much higher. Several cases go unreported because people are either embarrassed that it happened to them or have no idea where to report it when it does happen. First, here are a few ways to prevent identity theft so you have less chance of it happening to you. A very important step in learning how to avoid identity theft is to keep a close watch on all of your personal information and your credit report. Check your credit reports from all three credit bureaus at least once a year to see that everything is accurate. If you find an error, dispute it immediately so you can protect yourself against fraud. Similar names and similar social security numbers often get mixed up, or even worse, someone could have stolen your identity. Another way to prevent identity theft is not to carry your Social Security card or anything with your Social Security number on it in your wallet. Keep your social security number private because someone could easily steal your identity with your number. The same goes for your bank card pin number because it makes it easy for a thief who has stolen your wallet to help themselves to your bank account at an A.T.M. Other ways to prevent identity theft also need to be applied to Internet. If you use Internet, make sure all your security software like virus protection and spyware software is up to date. Be aware of Internet scams that ask for any personal or password information. Legitimate businesses will never send you an e-mail asking you to confirm your personal identifying information. So never give out personal information unless you initiated contact or you're absolutely sure who you're dealing with. Also be especially careful about giving your credit card number over phone to telemarketers. While most companies are legitimate this is a popular way for thieves to obtain your name, address and credit card number. So what happens if you do become a victim and what is involved in reporting identity theft? Here is information for agencies you need to contact. 1. Contact fraud departments of any one of three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.
How to Fight SpywareWritten by Gary Gresham
If you are wondering how to fight spyware for safe web surfing, this Internet privacy article will answer some of your questions. By now you have probably heard about dangers of spyware. Spyware has become so common, it has now moved ahead of viruses as number one danger facing computer users today. But with these safe web surfing tips you can learn how to fight spyware. Anything you download from Internet is a potential threat but a few types of downloads are particularly notorious for infecting your computer with spyware and adware. Music file-sharing programs used to trade music are a major problem. Other downloads like free games, screen savers, and even smiley face packages are usually loaded with adware. Be aware of any product that claims to be free because it's very possible that publisher generates revenue from sources like pop up ads while you surf. Also quickly look at end-user license agreement that comes with a download. During installation process you're asked to check a box to indicate that you agree with terms. Although very few people ever read these, you may get clues that spyware and adware are part of download. If you see third-party software, anything ad-supported or if you are asked to agree to multiple end-user license agreements, cancel installation process. This is almost a sure sign that ads will pop up and your safe web surfing will become history.