March 24, 2011 (Newswire.com) - Identity theft is a chronic criminal issue, and identity thieves are always coming up with new ways to steal data and rob you blind. If you discover or even suspect that your personal data has been compromised, there are steps that must be taken to put all of your account holders on alert. If you act quickly enough, you may be able to stop identity thieves from using your information and causing damage to your finances. You an also prevent your data from being stolen in the first place.
You must be ready to take immediate action the minute you discover you have been victimized by identity theft (http://www.idtheftquiz.org), or even if you find yourself at risk. Determine first where the compromise occurred, and contact the appropriate bank or credit card company. You should also contact the credit reporting bureaus.
When you contact the credit reporting bureaus, ask for a free copy of your credit report, which you should examine thoroughly for any sign of fraudulent activity. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact the appropriate bureau to make the adjustment.
To prevent identity theft, be on your guard for imposters. Don't give out your Social Security number, credit card or bank account numbers, or passwords to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary and you know the person receiving it is legitimate.
Be sure to review your bank and credit card statements each month, to be sure there are no mistakes and confirm that each transaction is real. You should also make sure to check your credit report each year.
When conducting business online, be sure to only use a secure site. You'll know it's secure if you see "https" in the URL, or if you see a symbol that looks like a closed padlock in the lower corner of your browser window.
Last of all, be sure to shred all sensitive documents, including anything bearing your personal information and signature, before disposing of them.