== Information Privacy ==
In order to take advantage of many services you may need to provide personal information. That personal data has a high risk of being stolen, lost or disclosed, this is especially true for financial data.
The information that is collected must be accurate, complete, current and relevant to the purpose it was collected. Companies should have safeguards in place to protect information from unauthorized access, modification or disclosure to other parties.
There are laws protecting how consumers information is collected and stored, even placing limits in how a company may obtain and use data provided by customers.
The protection of financial data is important but consumers should be aware of how all their data is collected, whom it is collected by and how is it protected and to whom it is shared.
=== Identity Theft ===
Identity theft has become one of the fastest growing crimes especially in the United States of America. Thieves steal important information that would allow them or someone else to impersonate an individual. This information may includes:
Date of Birth
Social Security Number
Mothers Maiden NameBusiness and consumers are taking more steps to protect this important information from identity theft. Besides stealing information from you identity thrives have other methods for obtaining what they need.
Identity thieves have a few ways to gain access to information one of which is to create a data breach to steal personal records. They purchase the data from criminal or they may use phishing to entice users to willingly give up the information. They may even install spyware capable of capturing keystrokes.
==== Recommendations For Protecting Your Identity ====
Note that you may be legal required to keep bills and financial statements for some years, depending on you jurisdiction and activity, but as you dispose of any you should shred them as to avert them from being accessed by any third party.
In some jurisdictions If you write "request photo id" on the back of your credit cards, this may prompt retailers to do so. This may prevent thieves from using your credit cards if they are lost or stolen.
When using the ATM or filing out forms make sure no one is looking over your shoulders when you enter personal information. Do not include social security numbers and drivers license numbers on checks. Do not leave bills in your mailbox. Do not use debit cards for online purchases. Identity thieves are willing to go to any lengths to obtain your information.
When factual information is not necessary, give false information, giving a false name, address and phone number should be the default when you will have not benefit in stating the true data.