Crime has changed a lot since the days of vaults, bank robbers and heists. Of course physical crime still exists, and you will still see theft of this kind on the news, but the dawn of the technological age has seen the rise of a new breed of criminal, the cyber criminal. Whilst technology has made life easier in many ways, it has also created new types of danger, and you must be vigilant to protect against this. One of the biggest new areas of crime is identity theft and computer hacking to steal your personal details and account information. This can lead to money being stolen and accounts, contracts and even official documents such as passports being taken out in your name.
Even if you do everything in your power to protect yourself from idenity theft and fraudsters, you may at some-point fall victim to this type of crime, and the key to minimising the damage is to detect it quickly so you can do something about it before the problem gets too serious. Monitoring your accounts closely is the best way to spot if anything untoward is going on, so things like online banking are your biggest ally as you can quickly see if your account is being used without your consent. Banks will also notify you if any unusual activity is occurring, and put a hold on your finances if they suspect foul play. Let your bank know if you are going overseas, so that your activity isn’t flagged as suspicious as this could cause issues when travelling.
Monitoring your credit file is a good way of spotting any suspicious activity using your details, as you can quickly see if someone is applying for credit in your name, or changing any information on your existing accounts. Using a credit cleaner company to keep tabs on your finances is an easy way to do this and you will know as soon as any activity is logged by setting up alerts on your account. Always play it safe, and if you are unsure whether a change or check has been done with your consent you should query it with the company in question. There is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to identity theft and fraud.
If you believe that your information has been stolen then you need to act fast to secure your accounts and identity. Use your credit file to find out what acticities are being carried out in your name, and contact any companies you hold accounts with, or who are being contacted in your name. Ask to put passwords and additional security on accounts, cancel any cards that might have been cloned, and make sure your account providers are aware of the situation and that extra care is required. If anything has been stolen, your account providers will be able to advise you of next steps, and you will almost always be able to reclaim anything that has been taken.
Be careful with your information, and only give it out when it is absolutely necessary. Just as you wouldn’t put a debit card in a machine that has been tampered with, don’t give out card, or other personal details on a site without a security certificate or secure server. If the worst does happen, make sure you are aware of the procedures you need to follow, and act fast in order to fix the issue before it causes you too much trouble.
Bill Turner is a professional guest blogger and activist. He enjoys hiking, running and spending time with his sons and dogs.