Empty bank accounts, credit accounts charged up to the limit, and a ruined credit rating are just the beginning of the nightmare! It can take months to get everything straightened out, but it only takes an instant for it to happen.
Don’t feel like you’re being overcautious with any action you take to protect your personal information! When it comes to protecting your identity, safety comes first.
25 Ways to Avoid Identity Thief
1. Shred all personal documents before discarding.
2. Shred junk mail that has your name, address, or any other personal information.
3. Never give your personal information over the phone to someone who calls you.
4. Use prepaid debit cards for online purchases.
5. Use a secure, private wireless network when providing personal information online.
6. On the internet, ensure that you’re on a page that starts with “https:” rather than “http:” when giving personal information. “Https:” pages send the info in an encrypted form.
7. Avoid shopping online in public places.
8. When at the ATM and checking out at the store, shield your account number and pin from those around you. A thief could very well be standing right behind you in line.
9. Use cash in restaurants; avoid giving the waiter your credit card.
10. Keep your passwords and pins to yourself and use a different one for each account.
11. If you write down your passwords or pins, keep the paper in a safe place (not your wallet).
12. File your social security card in a safe place at home.
13. Memorize your social security number for handy reference when you need it.
14. Carry only necessary information.
15. Keep track of billing cycles and statements. If you don’t receive one, inquire about it.
16. Put your receipts in a safe place and shred before discarding.
17. Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date and run regular virus scans.
18. Invest in a lock box for personal information.
19. Question requests for your personal information.
20. Never provide personal information in email.
21. Regularly check your credit report. Is anything out of place?
22. Keep your purse in sight. If you must leave it somewhere, check it immediately when you get back. At the office, keep it hidden in your desk.
23. Mail your bill payments at the post office rather than putting up that red flag on your home mailbox. Thieves love those red flags!
24. Keep your unused checks and bank statements in a safe place.
25. File your IRS forms in a secure place away from prying eyes.