6 Tips To Deter Identity Theft
Are you worried about identity theft?
Have you been taking any steps to help reduce your risk of being a victim of identity theft?
Ask anyone that has been victimized by this serious crime and they will tell you the trouble it can cause. Not only can your credit be destroyed but it will likely cost you a considerable amount of time and money as you try to repair the damage.
Identity theft prevention should be on your mind and the good news is that there are very easy steps that you can take right now to safeguard your information.
- Shred financial documents and anything with personal information. You can purchase a shredder for under $100.00 at the local office supply store and shred everything before disposing of it in the garbage. Another option is to save all of these documents in a box and then take them to a company or service to shred. Your local town may offer an special event once or twice a year where you can bring your documents to be shredded for no charge.
- Don’t give out your personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are talking with. One of the common scams that catch people is when someone calls and pretends to be from your bank or credit card. They sound legitimate and ask you to provide your personal information in order to verify your account. Unless you have initiated the conversation, don’t share your personal information.
- Protect your Social Security number. At one time many people had their SSN on their personal checks, which obviously is not recommended. Don’t carry your SSN card with you either, as if you lose your purse or wallet your identity will immediately be at risk.
- Never click on links in an unsolicited email. As discussed in the tips to protect yourself from phishing scams, be skeptical of any email that you receive and type in the web address directly rather than click on the link.
- Use obscure passwords. It is scary to think of how many people use passwords such as “password” or “secret”. Avoid using common information such as your birth date, name, address, or your maiden name. While it might seem inconvenient to use a password like “tD3bQ2qm28K”, it will be much harder for someone to crack.
- Keep your personal information secure, even in your home. Many people think they are safe within their home, leaving information out on the table or desk. When you think of the people that might come through your house – repairmen, cleaning people, roommates, and even neighbors or friends, you never know who might be desperate and steal your information.
As you can see, none of these tips are overly difficult to follow but can really go a long way towards helping you prevent identity theft.
Identity theft is something that you want to be proactive with preventing rather than reactive after it has happened.