Avoid getting run over when protecting your personal information, cautions Better Business Bureau

CHICAGO, IL – Protecting your personal identity information has become as much of a necessity today as looking both ways when crossing a street. And while there are various ways identity thieves attempt to steal your personal information, a recent poll by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) shows consumers are neglecting to protect themselves against the most common ID theft techniques.

The BBB poll showed that while slightly more than 25 percent of respondents rightly believe a lost or stolen credit card is a significant threat to personal identity information, only 12 percent consider bills, invoices and other personal paper thrown out in the trash to be a significant threat.

“It is ironic two aspects of identity protection that are the easiest to accomplish are considered the most and least important in the view of many people,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

Much more likely ID theft possibilities, like losing a credit card or trashing a bill with a card number printed on it, get much less media coverage, Bernas commented, than other more difficult acts such as stealing information from telephone or online credit card purchases, or hackers stealing personal information.

“Using credit cards when shopping or eating out has become such an automatic action for many people that they mindlessly hand over their identities,” Bernas stated. “Paying the credit card bills and throwing out the receipts too often fall into the same category. Stealing your identity information from these actions is a lot easier for ID thieves than it is for them to accomplish sophisticated computer hacking.”

The BBB president explained that people need to take more responsibility for protecting their identities in ways that they can control. Guarding credit cards and shredding any documents with personal information are two actions every person can take to lessen the risk of their identity being stolen.

For more consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org

As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.