Many people have become knowledgeable of the devastating consequences that identity theft can offer. According to the latest research done by Unisys Security Index, almost three quarter of their subjects expressed their fear of becoming an identity theft victim. This is particularly due to people’s growing awareness to identity theft crimes, most especially now that it has remained the primary consumer complaint for 8 years in a row.
The fear of debit card fraud comes second next to identity theft, though the former is also one of the crimes that the latter executes. They are, in fact, directly linked by the process of skimming. Perhaps you thought of this word as the process of scanning your text paragraphs for a faster reading comprehension back in your school days, but it has actually more meaning to it that might put your identity at risk.
The process of skimming can happen anytime and anywhere, when you use your credit card in paying for your purchased items or for services you have received. This can happen in a restaurant, for example, when you hand your credit or debit card to the waiter or waitress and they leave your sight to verify the authentication of your card. They may have confirmed the genuineness of your card but you will never know if you can trust them enough. There may be possibilities that you are dispensing your credit card information to a certain device that these criminals use, named as a skimmer. It can save your credit card number instantly, without you knowing anything about it.
In addition, your personal information will be further compromised when you use an automated machine teller (ATM). Though it has been suggested by other people to use ATM rather than direct bank transactions, they may be proved wrong since skimmers can also be placed inside the ATM. Once you have inserted your card in the machine, a message will flash telling you that it is out of order. Just as soon as you get back your card to try your luck into another machine, your credit card number and personal identification number (PIN) has already been stored by the skimmer.
Thus, you must check your financial accounts every now and them. Request a copy of your credit history so that you can systematically review your credit transactions and detect any suspicious activities. You can, in fact, get a free credit monitoring report annually from the three nationwide credit monitoring companies, namely the Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This was pushed by the government by passing the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 to address the growing number of identity theft victims.
With the invention of skimmers, it is promising that identity theft will further expand its crime. With the discoveries that technology has provided criminals, it is not impossible to presume that there will be more schemes to come. Therefore, you have to further protect your self by being more vigilant and cautious with everything you do, may it be online or in the real world.