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Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is becoming surprisingly common. There are many steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. This is a guide about preventing identity theft.
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By 2 found this helpful
April 25, 2016

Computers, tablets, and smartphones are a part of everyone's life these days. Therefore, it's vital that we understand the importance of protecting our data when online. Furthermore, it's pertinent that you protect your computers and electronic devices against hackers.

Identity theft and stolen data are real. Each day, hundreds of thousands of people become a victim of identity theft. Here are some simple tips to protect your computer, home network and electronic devices against hackers.

  • Install a paid anti-spyware and anti-virus program on all your computers and electronic devices. Free anti-virus and anti-spyware programs don't offer you the same protections as a paid software package.

  • Encrypt all your important documents and information using an encryption program. Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 can encrypt your data.

  • On your home router, it's vital that you chance the user login password. All home based routers come with a default password. Routers are the first place a hacker uses to gain access to your computer and personal information.

  • Change your default SSID setting on your router. All routers use a default SSID name. Normally, the SSID name is the same name as the manufacture of your router.

  • For all your portable electronic devices, it's vital that you disable the auto-connect feature that connects your device to any open WiFi network. Unsecured public WiFi hotspots make you an easy target for hackers.

  • If you're not using your computer or router, turn them off. Hackers look for networks that sit idle. Therefore, it's necessary to turn off your router and computer at the end of the day.

  • Never use the same password on all your accounts. Each online account needs a separate password. Furthermore, don't use your name, address, birthdays, children's names or names of your pets. Always create a unique password for each of your accounts. Don't store your passwords on your computer or other electronic devices.

  • Guard your personal information against hackers. Always keep your computers and electronic devices updated with the latest security updates and patches. Protect yourself and your family against identity theft and online hackers. Furthermore, if you don't understand how to configure your computer, install software, or change the password on your router, ask a family member or pay a technician to do this for you.

    These tips will save you thousands of dollars in stolen credit card charges, bank account withdrawals, and identity theft. Please protect your home network and all your electronic devices.

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Comment Was this helpful? 2
April 26, 20160 found this helpful

Some very good advice here. I am not in total agreement with you on one subject, paid versus free anti-virus software. With different companies offering different levels of free anti-virus software, and with different companies offering different levels of paid anti-virus software, a blanket answer as to which is best, could be misleading.

Some free anti-virus software is better than some paid anti-virus software. I know this from personal experience. Having paid anti-virus software installed is no guarantee you wont get a virus, and if you should, you more than likely will have to pay additional fees to have an expert remove the virus. I know this too, from personal experience.

In my case, I had to pay $50.00 up front (my account was with the biggest name in the business). They did not/could not remove the virus, and wanted more money for a higher level service. I said 'No', and ended up removing the virus, myself.

I go for years at a time without contracting a virus, and I do so with free anti-virus software.

On a different note, I am shocked at the current trend whereby many people use their real name for site memberships. This is exactly what the data miners want, and the general public seems happy to oblige. This makes identity theft and stolen data so much easier. I would never use my real name on the Internet except where a legal and binding matter was the case.

The matter of people using their real name where it is not necessary is essentially a case of monkey see, monkey do...and without regards to the consequences.

All the big names now want your mobile phone number. They will not give you the option of telling them you do not have a mobile phone. This mean spirited behavior coupled with the fact that not one has yet given a decent reason as to why you should give them your mobile number (They have tried and failed miserably), tells me all I need to know as to whether these companies should have my mobile phone number. Helping you retrieve a lost or forgotten password (for example), is not a good reason to give out your mobile phone number. This service could be provided easily and without your mobile phone number.

We now have so many devices that do our thinking and decision making for us. If Google had it's way, it would do near all our thinking for us. It wants to know more about us than we know about ourselves, and has stated thus, publicly. What kind of mindless creatures will we become in the near future if certain 'Big Boys' get their way?

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April 4, 2011

Use the clear button after you get your receipt when pumping gas at the gas station. It should be on the bottom left hand side. A dishonest employee could possibly use the stored info you leave at the pump if you don't. This has happened before to other people. I am going to start pushing the clear button from now on.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

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June 19, 20110 found this helpful

The gas station I frequent now has a request to put in your zip code when you are using your card. This is a new security measure. I am so glad when at the store, and I am paying with a debit card, that people ask me for my ID when checking me out at the store. The other day I dropped my card and an honest food city employee kept it and we went to pick it up later. I appreciate honesty so much, don't you?

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April 23, 2012

I now wrap my CC and debit cards in an aluminum foil wrap. This prevents anyone from downloading the numbers if they try to scan my purse. This practice is also good if you carry your Social Security and health cards.

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By 8 found this helpful
February 18, 2011

On the "new cards", instead of signing my signature on the back, I put "ASK FOR ID" and it works fine for me. I don't believe a thief would try using these.

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August 4, 2010

Prevent Identity Theft

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If you're like us, chances are you know someone who's been taken for a ride by an identity thief. It's a bad ordeal, and when you're pinching pennies, it can be the last straw if someone invades your financial privacy. Here are a couple of things we do around our house.

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By 13 found this helpful
April 12, 2010

Let's talk emails. You get the cute ones from friends , the important ones from work and family and then you get the ones that are disguised. These emails are set up to fool you and convince you to give information that sets you up for a fall. Possibly for identity theft.

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By 10 found this helpful
February 16, 2010

Keep a pair of scissors near your paper shredder. Then you can cut the private information off of the page, and shred that. Keep the rest of that sheet for scratch paper.

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By 6 found this helpful
September 28, 2010

Those of us who have Medicare cards know our social security numbers are on them. I had always wondered about that, since it is not a good idea to carry your social security card with you.

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March 16, 20170 found this helpful

Damaged Mailbox

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Mail theft is a federal crime but that doesn't deter some people. Having a secure mailbox is the best way to prevent mail theft. This is a guide about preventing mail theft.

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By 1 found this helpful
June 16, 2008

Tips to keep your identity safe:

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh2 found this helpful
January 6, 2009

Protecting Yourself

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Each year 8.4 million Americans are victims of identity theft. Ask around and it shouldn't be hard to find someone who can recant the tale of stolen identity. Frozen bank accounts, canceled credit cards, and ruined credit; the tales are frightful.

Protecting Yourself

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By 0 found this helpful
December 8, 2008

Check your online banking frequently! Someone has stolen my debit card and has been taking $75.00 per day from our checking account. I have not used it at any unfamiliar places. They have stolen over $600.00.

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April 30, 20052 found this helpful

When ordering checks, have only your initials printed in the heading with your address. When signing your checks, use your full name (first and last).

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April 28, 20051 found this helpful

Beware if anyone is going thru your trash. I know a lady who isn't at home much during the daytime. One day the UPS man showed up at her house with a whole truckload of packages for her. When she insisted that she'd not ordered anything, he said, "well, they're all addressed to you".

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April 7, 20050 found this helpful

As with any crime, you can't guarantee that you will never be a victim, but you can minimize your risk. By managing your personal information widely, cautiously and with an awareness of the issue, you can help guard against identity theft.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
May 24, 2011

My mother gets hundreds of the sticky return address labels, we have been cutting them up and trashing them. They destroy shredders, by gumming up the blades. How can we get them to stop sending them and what is an easier way to dispose of them?

By Jeanne

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 25, 20110 found this helpful

Opt out on junk mail and you won't have this problem. Only junk mail I get is grocery store flyer which I'm glad to get. I've opted out with every business I deal with telling them I don't want anything from their parent or otherwise companies. I pay my bills online and don't get statements. I get very little mail which is fine with me.

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Anonymous
May 25, 20110 found this helpful

There truly is no cause to worry about these labels causing identity theft. Can anyone else steal your mom's identity simply knowing only her postal address? No way.

There are some great ideas here already for stopping them being sent to her in the first place and also great ideas for reuse and recycling instead of cutting up and throwing in the trash so please take a deep breath of relief and consider making the best of the freebies that are being sent to her. :-)

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 4, 20100 found this helpful

Help yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft: Do
not keep anything in your wallet/purse with your Social Security number on it. This includes your Social Security card, old Medicare cards, or your group health insurance card. The newest Medicare cards only contain the last 4 digits of your SS number.

Truerblue

Answers:

Prevent Identity Theft

My daughter literally had the rural newspaper deliveryman take her credit card bill out of her mailbox, copy the numbers put the bill back the next night and use the card numbers. He had done this at several homes that he delivered the paper to. So the warning is do not leave mail in your mailbox overnight. The man spent 18 months in jail and the newspaper that he worked for would not even report it in their paper nor take any accountability for his actions in fact while he was in jail, his wife delivered the newspapers. The police discovered that he had several post office boxes in different names so that he could receive the merchandise from the stolen cards that he used to order through mailorder catalogs. (04/08/2005)

By Joan

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