Ways that you put yourself at risk for identity theft
• Writing a check. Every check that you write has your name on it, along with the account number and routing number. If it didn't, of course, the check would be no good.
• Using a debit or a credit card. If you swipe a debit or a credit card at a terminal at a store, or hand it to a clerk, information about you is transferred to another computer. That includes, of course, your name and the account number on your card. This is also true if you use the card to purchase items online (on the web), or over the telephone (they will need to know your name and account number). If you hand your credit or debit card to a waiter at a restaurant and let them walk away, they can write down all the information on the card, including the 3-digital security number on the back.
• Letting your name appear in any public record. That includes telephone directories and listings on the internet. People can find out your name there easily.
• Using a cell phone. Cell phone communications can be intercepted as they travel through the air. Any confidential information that you speak into a cell phone can be heard by anyone who knows how to intercept.
• Appearing in public. There is a good chance that someone may overhear your name, or see your telephone number. They can easily take your picture as most cell phones now have cameras.
Some risks just can't be avoided, so just use common sense when doing a financial transaction. Guard your PIN (Personal Identification Number) number, and be sure to shred any documents with your name and account number before putting them in the trash. And minimize the amount of checks that you have to write. Electronic transactions done by your bank will leave less of a paper trail, as checks could end up in the trash.
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Posted by Brad Hall