It’s scary to think about your identity being stolen, especially since it happens to people everyday. Sometimes, no matter what you do, someone will try and attempt to steal your identity which will ruin your life if they succeed in doing so. Luckily there are steps to take in order to prevent it from disrupting your life.
A lot of your personal information is stamped on letters, cards, envelopes, and more. If these documents have any value they should first be put in a safe location where nobody can get to. Lock them in a safe and tell no one that you cannot trust. If any of these things come to you in the mail that’s unimportant, don’t throw them away as is. Cut them up or shred them to prevent anyone from seeing what they shouldn’t. A lot of times, people who steal identities get the information they need by looking through trash. So don’t assume no one will see anything about you just by throwing it away.
When it comes to your social security number, never give it out to anyone, especially over the phone. If you’ve seen the movie “Identity Thief” with Melissa McCarthy, and Jason Bateman, you’ll know that that’s how the victim got his identity stolen. While that was all based on comedy, it’s anything but in reality. People get phone calls all the time from those they don’t know so if someone claims to be from an insurance company, or anything perceived as business, don’t assume it’s legit. If they ask for your information, hang up the phone.
When you’re out and about, keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Never sit your purse or wallet down and walk away. Information like your SSN, and your date of birth that happen to be in you wallet or purse are all identity thieves need in order to wreak havoc on your life.
The internet is like the mother ship for identity thieves. There are a lot of things you can do that’ll make it easier as far as shopping, and even signing up on various websites. So when doing these things, always remember to clear your password and login information, especially if you’re on a public computer. Never store anything that others can easily steal. If storing your information is something you want to do, make sure it’s a private computer with a password enabled. Be sure to change your password often too, keeping in mind to choose something that’ll be difficult for anyone to crack. When shopping, only use websites that offers a protection policy. There’s usually a padlock icon at the top of your browser or website that will tell you you’re being protected while on the site. Use official websites and not so-called sites with hyperlinks.
Never give out your information to anyone online either, no matter how trustworthy they may seem. Be on the look out for phishing and spam. Clicking on links to anything that seems suspicious can give hackers information that they shouldn’t have. Most websites are safe to visit, and if you have enough protection on your computer, it should alert you to anything about the website that isn’t safe. Regardless, be careful of the type of websites you go on. Always scan, and get whatever background information on a website that you haven’t visited before.
Always keep track of any banking transactions that you have made, whether in person or online. If there happens to be any activity or transactions that weren’t made by you, contact your bank right away, and let them help you with fixing it.
Keep an eye on your credit report too. There should be websites that can tell you what your credit score is for free so check up on it every once in awhile.
It’s always a good idea to verify your address with your local post office, that way if someone happens to have your information and live elsewhere, your post office can help verify who you really are through your postal address.
Identity Theft Services:
There are more way in which you can protect yourself. Sites such as Life Lock, Identity Guard, and TransUnion have different options and packages available to you so that you can have protection from identity thieves. Do research on any site that offers protection, and choose the one that’s right for you, and one that you feel comfortable with.
If you happen to notice anything suspicious that wasn’t done by you, and you are beginning to suspect you may be the victim of identity theft, take action immediately. Contact the police, and you bank and shut down the accounts that have been compromised. Cancel your credit cards as well. The quicker you act, the easier it’ll be on you, and you’ll be less responsible for anything the identity theft has done.