There’s an old Chinese saying that whoever steals eggs will steal oxen.

  1. by the century, when you replaced” egg “with your credit card number and” Ox ” to protect your identity in the event of a Social Security data breach, you entered the information age – one of the biggest threats to identity theft.

Identity theft-the act of having your personal and financial information stolen, often through cyber means, is an evolving problem.

According to an April 15, 2008, study by the Poneman Institute, a Michigan-based research group, 55 percent of identity theft victims have experienced two or more information violations in the past two years.
According to a February 2009 report by Javelin Strategy and Research, the number of victims of identity fraud increased by 25 percent in 2008, affecting 9.9 million people. It is the first time since the report began in 2004 that numbers have risen. In 2007, about 8.4 million people were victims of identity theft, one every four seconds, down from more than 9 million the previous year.
On January 20, 2008, Heartland Payment Systems, a financial transactions company, announced a security breach that occurred in late 2008, leaving tens of millions of credit cards vulnerable to cyber fraud . Heartland does not yet know how many accounts have been breached, but it is making payments for 250,000 customers, 40 per cent of whom are restaurants. Heartland handles more than 100 million transactions each month, according to Robert Baldwin, the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
The good news is that taking action to prevent identity theft is both easy and doable. CreditCards.com, asked some leading information security experts what steps they would take to protect your personal identity, and here’s what they should say:

1st. Pay attention: first, How do you know your identity has been compromised? Based in California CreditReport.com Bruce Cornelius, chief marketing officer at Canoga Park, says you’ll know you’ve started receiving letters and phone calls saying your loan application has been approved or rejected. Or you’ll notice that there are fees on your credit card statement that you never approve of. Another red flag is receiving phone calls from collection agents saying You owe money.

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2nd ed. Act quickly: the key is to get out of the way of the problem as soon as possible before inflicting more severe damage. Based in Denver IDWatchdog.com “often Thieves will use your credit card data to commit non-financial identity theft crimes that have become much bigger problems,” says its president, Justin Yurek. “As thieves begin to truly clone your identity, they can move from buying items in your name to committing crimes in your name, or obtaining employment benefits in your name, or obtaining health care in your name. Unlike a thief who fraudulently buys items on your behalf, there is no easy return for these crimes, and the consequences for the victim are far more severe. ”

Once thieves really start cloning your identity, they can move from buying items in your name to committing crimes in your name…

  • Justin Yurek President, Idwatchdog.com
  1. Prevention defense: identity theft experts say prevention is the real key in stopping identity violations. DebtGoal.com “to prevent identity theft, cardholders need to protect their cards and keep identifying information about their accounts secret,” says chief executive Scott Crawford. Examine your statement carefully to identify transactions you have not initiated and to take advantage of the warnings your credit institution offers. Many of them allow you to receive alerts for abnormal transactions that could alert you to possible fraud in your account. ”
  2. Check URLs: always check a website’s URL and security certificate before entering your personal information. ” As phishing schemes get more and more complicated, it’s important to make sure you’re doing business with the person you think is not dishonest, ” says Yurek. “Also, never send personal information, such as your Social Security number or credit card number, in an unsafe manner, such as email.”

Identity fraud victims table5. Play close to the vest: always keep your personal information as private as possible and take concrete steps to eliminate your “financial footprint.” ” Don’t give your Social Security number unless it’s absolutely necessary, ” says Scott Stevenson, founder and CEO of Eliminate ID Theft. “If you don’t want credit offers to come to you, contact the three credit reporting agencies and ‘ opt out ‘of those offers. They should remove your name from mailing and telemarketing lists for two years. Do not carry your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate in your wallet or purse, and do not carry only the credit cards you need. “Stevenson also advocates checking the “ inquiry ”section of your credit report to see if there are any unwanted creditors examining your credit you don’t have. Watch your mail habits, too. “Do not mail documents, such as bills or tax forms, from your personal mailbox. Take them straight to the post office or pay them online. Thieves will roam your mailbox and take away your valuable information. ”

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  1. Contact authorities: if you have been a victim of identity theft, contact police as soon as possible. CreditReport.com ‘ dan Cornelius also recommends that all accounts that are not opened and inherited be closed. “Also use the Federal Trade Commission’s to confirm identity theft to file a complaint from the FTC website that can be used to investigate identity theft,” Cornelius adds. “Next, report to your local police department and the community where identity theft has occurred. Get copies of this police report to help you prove to credit card companies and banks that your identity was stolen. ”

A common denominator among all identity theft experts? The question precedes you. This way both your egg and your ox are well protected.