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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

Identity Theft Protection: Watching Out for Online Scams

When it comes to identity theft protection, it's important that you know how to recognize misleading or false information online. This includes being able to recognize suspicious inquiries regarding your login information, passwords, and other identifiable information. In these cases you should first consider whether the source is trustworthy. If you're uncertain, hold off on providing your sensitive information until you're able to verify the authenticity of the source.

When entering Identification Information Online

Many people use the Internet every day for business and for connecting with friends and family at a distance. Although the Internet is a great resource, it's also a place where you need to be careful about how much personal information you give away.

In fact, before you enter any personal identification information online, ask yourself:

  • Do you trust the source?
  • Do they have a physical address (not a PO Box) clearly displayed?
  • Does the personal identification information you're about to enter make sense for what you're going to get in return?
  • Can you give another type of information instead?
  • Is the site verified by the Better Business Bureau?

Considering the source carefully before handing over identification information is a good step in preventing ID theft.

Common Online Scams and ID Theft

We've all received those emails from far off lands claiming that someone wants to give us millions of dollars. Most of us are aware that these are scams and simply delete the emails. This is a smart step in your identity theft protection efforts.

There are other ploys used online that are pretty sophisticated that you should be aware of. These include:

Authentic-looking screen: Always question emails or text messages that take you to what appears to be a page of trusted site, but you're being asked to verify personal identification information. This may be a phishing scam. Don't enter the information. Instead, go directly to the site and check your account. If verification is truly needed, it will be noted on your account.

Disaster relief: When disaster strikes people often want to do or give what they can to help. Sometimes, disaster relief agencies are set-up in order to help those in need; however, it is always best to give to an established organization with a track record of using the donation funds wisely. Sadly, in some cases, a new disaster relief organization may be set up as a way of scamming kind-hearted people out of their hard earned dollars.

Protecting Yourself against ID Fraud Online

Being guarded with your identification information is a great way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of ID fraud. Also, make sure that you check your bank and credit card statements each month and watch for unusual charges.

Criminals may steal your account information and then use that information when purchasing items online. In addition, dishonest merchants may charge you for products or services you didn't order or approve. Catching these fraudulent charges early is an important part of identity theft protection.