How do I Prevent Forgery?

Keith Koons

There are many different methods that a criminal could use to commit forgery in today's society, but the average person can prevent most of these opportunities by practicing some safe habits. Learning not to store things like birthdays, credit card numbers, and bank accounts on a computer is a very important step. Collecting mail as it arrives is an equally important habit, since criminals can use one area of information to obtain many others. Using unique passwords and pin numbers is also a great way to prevent forgery because it limits a criminal's access to your life. Also being especially careful inside banks and while conducting credit card transactions is another practice to reduce forgery attempts.

Many documents call for witnesses or countersignatures to prevent forgery.
Many documents call for witnesses or countersignatures to prevent forgery.

While the Internet has provided the world with many technologies to improve the way people live their lives, there is also a great deal of danger lurking in cyberspace. A hacker can use a minor piece of information found online to learn a person's address, telephone number, bank location, and hundreds of other items that could lead to forgery or identity theft. Once this process starts, the criminal can then contact many of the user's legitimate accounts to inquire about other details such as his social security number, driver's license, credit card numbers, and other types of account information. The only way to prevent this from occurring is to not share this type of information online or from any type of computer system.

Check washing is a type of forgery where the check is altered and rewritten for a large sum of money.
Check washing is a type of forgery where the check is altered and rewritten for a large sum of money.

This does not mean that conveniences like online banking are not secure, because in essence, consumers are safer managing their finances over a secure account than they are inside a real world financial institution. The problem comes when passwords and other information are stored within a computer's hard drive, and criminals can implement hundreds of ways to gain access. Once a remote connection is made by a thief, programs called keyloggers are often installed to steal passwords and other vital information. If a consumer's password that he types in on his favorite gaming site is the same one he uses for his bank account, for example, then the criminal gains unrestricted access to everything that person does online.

Using unique passwords and PIN numbers is a good way to prevent forgery by limiting access to private information.
Using unique passwords and PIN numbers is a good way to prevent forgery by limiting access to private information.

Watching the mail as it arrives to a person's home is another trick criminals use to commit forgery. Not only will they try to steal any checks or credit cards that arrive, but they can also use things like bank statements or utility bills to learn confidential information about a consumer. For example, if a criminal intercepted a telephone bill, he may go directly to the nearest branch and inquire about adding a special service. The criminal will then attempt to read the computer screen for a credit card number or anything else of value. An easy way to block this process is by receiving bill statements through email.

Preventing forgery includes ensuring mailboxes are secure.
Preventing forgery includes ensuring mailboxes are secure.
Shredding documents that contain one's signature can help protect against forgery.
Shredding documents that contain one's signature can help protect against forgery.
Victims of forgery may experience overdrawn credit and bank accounts.
Victims of forgery may experience overdrawn credit and bank accounts.

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