It seems all to common to hear of someone we know be affected by identity theft. dentity theft is when someone uses another person’s identity to receive money, credit, or purchases. The recovery process may take up to years to clear your name.
In this day and age, you can never be too careful about protecting your identity. Here are 10 ways to help you NOT become a victim of identity theft:
1. Secure your computer – As much as we don’t want to pay for an anti-virus software, it will cost you more time and money to resolve an identity theft situation. Think about how often you use your computer to log into sensitive information (bank accounts, bills, etc.) Spend the extra money to secure your computer.
2. Secure your mail – Often times, many homes have mailboxes that do not lock. Make sure to check your mail often and keep your mail box locked. You can also get a P.O box to ensure another level of safety.
3. Don’t leave any documents around – Keep all your receipts, statements, etc together. Have a place to to store until you are ready to get rid of them.
4. Shred all private documents and statements that contain your personal information – This includes bank statements, credit card statements, bills, etc.
5. Keep track of all your credit cards – Check to make sure all your credit cards are on hand. It can take little to no time for a stolen card to be maxed out.
6. Review statements and transactions – Go through your monthly statements and make sure that all credit and bank transactions are not fraudulent.
7. Monitor your credit report – Registering and setting up an account with the credit bureaus will help you keep track of all your accounts. Check for any suspicious activity or accounts you did not open. Some agencies have credit protection services that will notify you as soon as something changes on your credit report.
8. Do not leave your Social Security Card in your wallet – Do NOT carry your Social Security Number with you. Even exposing the last 4 digit of your number can be very harmful.
9. Protect your electronic devices – Create passwords on your computer, laptops, phones, etc. This will help prevent someone from using is should you ever lose or have your devices stolen.
10. Be careful with giving out your personal information – Resist giving out personal information over the phone as much as possible. Especially if you’re not the one making the call for customer support.