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Identity Theft and Credit Reports

To say that Identity Theft has reached epidemic proportions in the UK doesn't appear to be any exaggeration on the facts which are commonly bandied about... even by totally responsible organisations.

If, as I read, 80% of Councils have reported problems... and 25% of people have been directly, or indirectly affected... then taking basic steps for your own safety should be an automatic procedure nowadays. With the advent of separate paper collections by many councils, it is easy for those who wish to obtain information to rummage through the bins or boxes, to look for personal details.

A shredder, I would say, is a basic necessity... and you can get a perfectly adequate electric strip-cut model which does up to 5 sheets of paper at a time [with paper container incorporated] for less than £10 if you shop around. I purchased mine from Morrisons supermarket and have had it for around two [fingers crossed] trouble free years.

If you don't possess a shredder, then at least tear off all names and addresses from your envelopes and destroy all letters, etcetera, which have your details on. I would burn, or shred and dispose of in two separate rubbish collections, all old credit, debit, or shop cards.

As well as these basic steps you will have, hopefully, found many useful tips and further information on the Identity Theft page at http://www.best-uk-electrical-appliances.com where you perhaps obtained this extra information.

If you have a computer with any personal details on it, I can do no better than refer you to the helpful article below... please read and consider VERY CAREFULLY the all information included. Computers soon become out of date, or become less efficient due to many different problems. Consider what is stored on your computer... there are bound to be passwords for something or other, there are names and addresses, and perhaps personal details - even banking details - which could help a potential identity fraudster obtain access to your financial records, credit cards, or even to steal your identity.

Identity Thieves Find Treasure In Your Trash

- by Jim Edwards

(c) Jim Edwards - All Rights reserved http://www.thenetreporter.com -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Imagine this scenario...

After serving you well for three to five years, your old computer earns a well-deserved retirement.

You transfer all your old files to your new computer, delete them from the hard drive, and pack the old computer off to the trash heap, sell it, or give it away.

Sounds innocent enough until you stop to consider that you may have just given away your social security number, all your passwords, your credit card numbers, bank statements, financial records, and every other bit of sensitive data you ever maintained on that computer.

With computers getting cheaper by the day, many folks now find themselves replacing old machines with newer, faster models.

But understand one thing: just hitting the delete button to get rid of sensitive files basically rates the same as putting a bank statement in your trash can without shredding it - anybody can reach in and pull it out.

In fact, with inexpensive over-the-counter data recovery software (the kind you can buy to recover files you delete accidentally), virtually anybody can fire up your old hard drive and start pulling off data even though you "deleted" it.

This creates a veritable field day for identity thieves who comb through junk yards for old computers and attend computer shows buying up used hard drives by the dozens.

Whether selling it, giving it away, or tossing it on the junk heap, when it's time to replace your computer with a newer model, you basically have three options for permanently wiping out your data.

First Option:

Many computers come with recovery disks that will completely format the hard drive and return it to its original "factory-fresh" state. Using this approach makes a great option when you plan to give away or sell the computer.

Second Option:

Use a software program designed to erase your hard drive, or at least totally destroy your deleted files.

You can find one fr^e at www.active-disk-wiper.com that claims to completely erase your deleted files without affecting Windows or your other programs.

Third Option:

In keeping with the times, the third option requires a disclaimer.

Only attempt this with safety glasses, a flak jacket, and under close professional, adult supervision.

Unplug your computer and let it cool off.

Take off the cover and remove the hard drive.

Bash the hard drive with a hammer until it looks like a pancake!

That should render it completely resistant to any would-be identity thief armed with even the latest data recovery software.

Physical destruction of the hard drive rates about as secure as you can get in protecting your deleted files from prying eyes.

But before you take drastic action on the computer, remember that your "trash" may just represent a dream come true for someone who can't afford a new one.

Try to find a child, a student, or a struggling parent who could really use your old computer and would consider it a real blessing.

Finding the right new home for it could well change someone else's life forever.

--- Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist (http://www.TheNetReporter.com) and is the author of several best-selling ebooks, information products and software programs. Jim also publishes the *World-Famous* www.IGottaTellYou.com Multi-Media Newsletter!

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Just as we used to have remember to be vigilant with our physical property... locking doors and windows, putting anything we value out of sight, cancelling deliveries when on holiday, using security lights... plus many more day to day precautions are automatic necessities. But NOW we ALSO have to consider our intellectual property and even our unique being.

Whatever you have created on your computer is uniquely yours, don't leave it open to abuse or theft any more than you should leave about your credit/debit cards, household bills, or any other important documents which hold your personal details.

Just two more mentions... be extremely careful when answering your home telephone, there are those who can, and will, ask you, deviously, to confirm your name and/or address... and from that they can find out all your private details, and manage to steal your identity.

Sorry, three more... don't ever fall for the lottery win or other scam which requires you to send money or details to get your 'winnings'... finally, if you are selling any big value item [like a car] don't believe that a bankers draft is necessarily safe and don't fall for the scam where you accept a signed payment which is larger than the required amount, and you are expected to give back the overpayment in cash. You will have lost the item you were selling, plus the cash... and the cheque or bankers draft will be worthless.

Take care out there!

Copy and paste the following web address to your browser to check out the full page where some of this information [plus lots more] is available online... http://www.best-uk-electrical-appliances.com/IdentityTheftandCreditReports.html



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