So how do you protect yourself against identity theft in the first place? Well that’s a toughie but there are few things that you can do.
Number one, and you may have heard this a million times, but I’m hoping that you’re going to hear it differently this time and maybe in a way that will make a difference in your life. Protect your passwords.
Now let me tell you what that means and what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t just mean write down your passwords in a secure place and put them in a drawer.
It means that when you get weird emails, a solicitation to log on to say your Chase bank account that you don’t just click through from an email to the bank and log in. A lot of times those are fake website set up to, designed to, steal that information so that people could literally go in and steal from you.
Pay Pal is not going to be calling you on the phone with some service update or warning and asking you for any information. If you get an incoming telephone call and it’s a bank, a financial services company, your insurance carrier – it’s anybody, and they’re asking you – they’ve called you, that’s the important thing – and now they’re asking you for points of data to confirm your identity you hang up. Say, “Wait a minute your company doesn’t call me, I’m assuming you know you’re talking to you. Look, I’ll call you back” and then you hang up. And then you get your own phone number off the back at the credit card or from your insurance policy and you call them.
These things are called social engineering and maybe you’re familiar with that but the biggest tool that identity thieves use is social engineering. That is – They call, they email you, in an attempt to get you to spill your own information one way or the other.