Norwalk, CT (PRWEB) December 30, 2006

As the number of identity theft cases either on the personal or financial level continues to rise, more members of AP9 PrivacyMatters, a leading security and privacy protection membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC, are turning to the program for increased security and peace of mind surrounding their identities.

“Dumpster diving” (i.e., rummaging through the trash for personal information) has been the most prevalent form of identity theft for years. However, with technology increasing by the day, it seems like thieves are finding new ways to steal personal information. ATM personal identification numbers (PINs) and ATMs themselves are being used more and more by thieves as perfect tools/places to steal identities. This evolution of tactics reinforces the need for secure safeguards of personal information like those offered by AP9 Privacy Matters.

According to AP9 PrivacyMatters, there are potential identity theft risks consumers need to be aware of when using ATMs and ATM cards. AP9 Privacy Matters recommends consumers to be aware of the following:

— Look out for “shoulder surfers.” These are people who steal information simply by looking over people’s shoulder while they enter an ATM PIN number.

— Be aware of fake ATMs. They are used to dupe consumers into trying to withdraw money from an ATM, forcing them to enter their PIN number one or more times while their card is “locked” inside the machine. Thieves will either “shoulder surf” or videotape consumers as they enter their PIN, then use that information and the stolen card to drain their bank account.

— Be careful even with legitimate ATM machines, they can also be used against consumers. Thieves will place a thin, plastic sheet into the card slot, which will then capture their card while they enter their PIN number repeatedly under the watchful eye of the thief. When they walk away in frustration, the thief will pull the card out and use their PIN.

— Don’t forget the “skimmers.” These devices steal financial information from consumers when they purchase items with their ATM debit card. ATM skimmers can fit almost seamlessly into legitimate ATM machines to read the data on the magnetic stripe when a card is swiped. This information is then sent to associates who use the recorded data to purchase items or create counterfeit cards.

After reading this information, it seems like we better start looking behind our shoulder every time we walk out the door. However, the situation is not as frustrating as it may seem. AP9 Privacy Matters suggests the following guidelines to reduce risks that come with using an ATM card: shielding the keypad when entering a PIN number; checking the card slot for a plastic sheet before inserting a card; using ATM machines only in trusted locations, like local banks; using a debit card that has a cap on losses for which owners may be liable; and asking banks to set a daily withdrawal limit on debit cards. Of course, checking bank statements and credit reports regularly can also alert consumers of identity theft signs. And remember, life doesn’t have to be too hard when the right precautions are taken.

Members may log on to PrivacyMatters.com for immediate access to a wide range of benefits designed to protect their personal information, credit, assets, physical property and more provided by AP9 Privacy Matters.

About AP9 PrivacyMatters

AP9 PrivacyMatters is a leading security and privacy membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Adaptive Marketing is a category leader in both membership and loyalty programs, bringing value direct to consumers through an array of benefits in healthcare, discounts, security, personal property and personals. Members may access their benefits at PrivacyMatters.com. With broad online and offline distribution capabilities, Adaptive Marketing offers its corporate client partners effective tools to enhance market presence, strengthen customer affinity and generate additional value through programs such as AP9 PrivacyMatters.

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