Every day the headlines are filled with reports of victims of identity theft.  You think about your wallet.  It’s always with you.  You would never just give out your personal information to strangers. So how do millions of people have their money and personal security threatened every year?

At Protect America, we’re here to help you learn how to protect your identity.

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Online Hackers

Every time that you open an account online and fill out a form with your name, address, and even payment information, you are leaving that information in one more place for thieves to find it.  A smart thief doesn’t even need your address to start doing some harm, they can glean all sorts of information from your public profile on many social media sites including:

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Snapchat
  • Others

Somebody who is stalking you for your personal identity only needs your name, date of birth, and address to start duplicating legal forms of identification.  It’s even easier for them to apply for fake IDs when they know your high school or college.  The names and ages of your children also will unlock more doors.  And we haven’t even talked about those scumbags who crack encrypted databases to grab your secure payment information for those monthly memberships you probably have.

So, don’t make your profile public. Use a nickname. And maybe celebrate your Aunt Mabel’s birthday instead of your own. Your “friends” in Sri Lanka will never know.

Dishonest Service Employees

Everybody is eating out these days, and part of the ritual is handing your credit card to the server to be processed for payment. Even if your waiter is as honest as you hope they are, you are not in control of what happens to that card out of your sight.  They could drop the card. They might hand it off to a friend because they are in a hurry. The entire number, the CVV number, expiration date, and full name on the card can be copied in seconds and later used to make online purchases.

It is also possible for a skimmer to be used at the payment portal, that looks just like a regular payment reader, but is actually collecting all that information. The information is then sold to overseas criminals who resell it to people who will work to ruin your credit as fast as possible. Once again, nobody is hidden in a locked room working at breaking into your bank’s encrypted files.  You just handed your information away.

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Picking Through Your Trash

Finally, you read through your monthly bank statement and then toss it in the trash. Which joins your latest update from the social security administration and your credit card statements.  Once your trash is put out at the curb, it is actually legal for somebody to sift through the nasty and take all those envelopes. They get your entire life handed to them in neat printouts crammed full of your life.  Shred your mail and think about adding a monitored home security system from Protect America to help discourage those thieves and protect more than your house.