Asian Media Online
Asian Countries Worried About Identity Theft
For many people in Singapore and other Asian countries, theft of their identities is the biggest worry they face, according to the latest Security Index. Eighty percent of people who were surveyed in Singapore along are worried about others stealing their identities or using their credit cards without their knowledge. Hong Kong and Malaysia had similar worries. The Security Index is based on local fears about security. A low number indicates that people have little fear, whereas a high number indicates a lot. If there's no fear, the Security Index would be zero, however, in Singapore and Hong Kong, the index is a startling 179, with Malaysia not far behind at 174.
This is a lot higher than countries like New Zealand or Australia, which are below 150 on this scale. Despite the fact that many people in the area are quite concerned about the security of their identities and finances, a fifth of them still don't take basic security measures, like destroying the receipts from an ATM. This shows a degree of complacency that doesn't match with their worries. Many people are used to trusting their banks and don't realize all the vectors through which their identities could be stolen. Identity theft could occur by someone going through the garbage, by trying to spot information while looking over someone's shoulder while they're on the computer, or by stealing mail.
There are some basic precautions that can be taken by people in Asia or elsewhere to avoid the problem of identity theft. Tearing up or shredding personal documents, like credit card statements and bills, can help. However, securing the mailbox and guarding personal identification records are also important. People who want to avoid identity theft should also keep close track of their credit cards, ATM and gas station receipts, never give any personal information without finding out the reason for a call or email about that information, and take their names off marketing lists. It's also important to go over credit card statement very carefully to look for any anomalies that might indicate unauthorized use of the card. In countries that have a credit reporting system, citizens should view that report regularly. This is another place that illegal use of someone's information can show up. Identity theft is a growing problem, in Asia and throughout the world. Simple precautions can do a lot to reduce the incidence of this crime, but can't prevent it entirely. Anyone who's worried about losing their information to someone unscrupulous, as are the inhabitants of Singapore and Hong Kong, should take steps to safeguard that information.
Also people should reach out to others they know online as well. Older, experienced online people need to help younger people just entering the online world to protect themselves as well as their computers. Printing out helpful articles and sharing copies with others, emailing copies as well are other ways to reach out. And bookmarking helpful sites and blogs and subscribing to them to stay advised of alerts and updates regarding identity theft issues and topics are also great ideas.
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