Identity Theft Reduction Tips You Need to Know

How a Fraud Alert Can Protect You from Identity Theft

Identity theft is a concern during every month of the year, but in the month leading up to Christmas is when nearly 40% of all cases of identity theft occur. It is sometimes easy for criminals to commit identity theft because of the reliance many consumers have on computers and the internet. If you are a computer user and love to surf the web or shop online, you will find the following tips about identity theft prevention and reduction very helpful.

Who Has Your Information?

If you’ve shopped online before, then you’ll definitely remember the option on many websites of whether or not you would like to store your credit card information for future purchases. Many consumers do this because they like the convenience of not having to reenter their 16-digit credit card number every time they make a purchase. Most identity theft experts, however, recommend against consumers doing this. It puts you at a greater risk for identity theft. If a criminal hacks into the retailer’s website, that person will have access to the credit card information the company stores. It is certainly worth the temporary inconvenience of entering your credit card account number every time you make a purchase if it means that your risk of identity theft is reduced.

Fraud Alerts Can Be A Tool

Another little known fact is that as a consumer you have the option of putting a fraud alert on your credit report. You don’t have to wait until you become the victim of identity theft to put a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert protects you from identity theft because if a criminal tries to open up a new account in your name the credit card company will have to contact you for authorization, which will quickly alert you to the fact that something is amiss.


That's good advice to not have web sites remember your credit card number.

I also highly recommend using "one-time use" credit card numbers where you get a temporary credit card number that you define the spending limit and expiration date.

Here's Bank of America's description.
"What is ShopSafe?
The ShopSafe service allows you to create a unique, temporary card number each time you're ready to make an online purchase. This number links directly to your real credit card account number but keeps your card number completely private and completely protected. The ShopSafe number is used just like any other credit - a merchant never knows it's not your real credit card. To get ShopSafe, sign in to Online Banking and choose "Use ShopSafe" from your Account Activity screen."

This is Citibank's link for information about Virtual Account Numbers:

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