Attorney General Offers Suggestions for Decreasing Risk of Identity Theft

identity theft, Texas white collar crime, San Antonio criminal defense lawyerThe average American now spends more than 490 minutes or eight hours per day on the internet. It is projected that by 2017, personal internet usage will climb upwards to 506 minutes, increasing the current usage rate. As usage expands so does the risk for identity theft.

At the onset of popularity of the internet during the early to mid 2000s, Americans, as well as those having global access to the world wide web, have been progressively utilizing the internet to conduct countless business and leisure activities, including:

  • Communicating via email;
  • Networking via Social Media;
  • Navigating general and personal interest searches;
  • Gathering national and international news reports;
  • Streaming music and videos;
  • Gaming;
  • Shopping;
  • Personal banking; and
  • Conducting employment searches.

According to USA Today, experts have defined identity theft as the successful obtainment of an unsuspecting consumer’s bank account or other personal information with the intent to commit fraudulent transactions. Identity theft is projected to surpass traditional methods of theft to top the list of the leading form of property crime. As security analysts advise, consumers should prepare to become a victim of identity theft at some point in time.

So how can consumers safeguard their personal banking or credit card information while active on the internet? For those residing in Texas, The Office of Attorney General, under the direction of Ken Paxton, provides the following suggestions for decreasing your risk:

  • Greatly reduce the number of places where your personal information is stored;
  • Use unusual and unique passwords for all electronic devices;
  • Change passwords and PIN numbers often;
  • Do not carry passwords or PIN numbers on your person; memorize them instead;
  • Install electronic firewalls on all electronic devices;
  • Download trusted antivirus or anti-spyware programs and run virus software often;
  • Allow computer and software updates;  
  • Do not provide social security number or credit card information over the internet unless you are certain of the receiver’s identity via a secured connection;
  • If using an unsecured internet connection, avoid providing any pertinent personal information, passwords or PIN numbers; and
  • Ignore and delete any type of “phishing” or typically false emails from those pretending to be reputable companies.

It is also advisable that when shopping online or completing an online transaction to keep a record of all purchases and to thoroughly read the privacy policy of the vendor to ensure that they do not share or sell personal or financial information to another company.

Often, due to the complex nature of identity theft, consumers may be unaware that they have been compromised until it is too late. By the time the consumer suspects that they have fallen victim to identity theft, their good name and credit rating may already be severely damaged.

As the office of the Attorney General advises all Texas consumers to remain vigilant to deter instances of internet theft, experienced San Antonio criminal defense attorney, Sam Lock advises those accused of alleged internet theft crimes to contact the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock to schedule an initial consultation today. We are ready to fight to protect your rights.

 

Sources:

http://qz.com/416416/we-now-spend-more-than-eight-hours-a-day-consuming-media/

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/internet-pushes-media-use-more-8-hours-day-165067

https://www.quora.com/When-did-email-start-to-become-popularly-used-in-the-US

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/14/identity-theft-growing/2082179/

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/identitytheft/preventing-identity-theft

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