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Identity Theft Is An Extremely Serious Threat In Digital Age

Martina was traveling through Boston one summer, when her bag was snatched while she was having lunch at the airport. 

As she normally does, she was carrying a number of credit cards, some money, a couple of ATM (Automated Teller Machine) cards, and a few travellers' checks too.

She had to quickly make many calls to cancel all her credit cards and ATM cards. However, in the meantime, the thief had enough time to use her credit card to buy $500 worth of things, before the card could be blocked. In addition, she lost over $300 in cash.

Plus, of course, she lost a beautiful purse worth $150. 

Fortunately, it was a local theft and she became aware of it quite quickly. So timely action could be taken and the loss was minimized.

However, when it comes to the digital modes of theft, one may not be so lucky

Because, it may be too late by the time you realize that your personal data has been stolen and misused.

Because, the criminal may be sitting in another country, which makes the process of tracing the culprit hard and tedious, if not almost impossible.

The number of identity thefts committed is on the rise. If you think it cannot happen to you, then think again!

The idea of such online thefts is still relatively new and strange for many individuals. So, to be able to defend yourself it's very important to educate yourself.

One thing is very clear... by obtaining your personal, banking and credit card information, these thieves are able to perpetrate these crimes and loot you. Hence, if you can make your sensitive information unobtainable, then the thieves have absolutely nothing to use against you.

So, your first line of defense is to protect your confidential information.

Beware! The number of identity thefts committed is on the rise.

Here are some of the ways by which you can prevent your data from falling into wrong hands. 

One. Never reveal any of your personal information to someone unknown over the phone. Many thieves call saying they're from the bank and try to obtain your sensitive banking details such as PIN No., Account No., One Time Password, etc. Always tell them you'll call them back and after that phone your bank at the number displayed on their website. Remember, no bank official will ever ask you to share your confidential and sensitive details.

Two. Never give out your bank debit card number, account number, date of birth or any other information to anyone claiming they're from an insurance company, IRDA, job website, dating / matrimonial website, tax refunds department, etc. Numerous people have received such fake calls and have subsequently been duped. Request them to send their offers through email. Only after you are totally satisfied that it is a genuine offer, decide for yourself whether to accept it or not. 

Three. Never give out your confidential information on the web, unless you're sure that the source is secured. One ploy often used is that thieves send out bogus e-mails stating they're from your bank. These request you to log in your accounts using a given link. Never respond to these e-mails. Instead go to your bank's website and log into your account. Social networking and shopping websites too are commonly used to extract your personal information for misuse and fraud.

Four. Not only do thieves obtain information via the phone or Internet, they obtain it from your trash too. Credit card thieves hunt in hopes of finding documents in your trash. Bills can contain name, account numbers and your mailing address. Some documents include your PAN number, Aadhaar number, Social Security number and birth date. Identity thieves can do some major harm with this sort of information. So protect yourself by shredding pre-approved credit card offers, credit card bills, phone bills, expenses or any documents that contain information that is personal and confidential.

Five. Keep regular track of all of your ATM slips, credit card bills, bank debit card transaction, SMSs, along with all other receipts. The moment you notice any unauthorized transactions or unexplained charges, immediately report the same to the bank. Further, in case you've credit card accounts that you don't use, it is best to cancel them. Less the sources of information, lesser is the risk of leakage.

Unlike in the past, you can be robbed by someone sitting million miles away in another country. Your personal information is now as precious as the money, gold or diamond, if not more. Therefore, you have to zealously guard and protect it. Take your time and investigate before committing yourself to something that sounds too good to be true like a lottery or instant money. If you don't do that, it can cost you your name, your identity and your hard-earned money too.

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