Identity Theft Precautions – 6 Proven Ways to Help Secure Your Identity
According to the Federal Trade Commission, you will spend countless hours and an average of $1,200 in your efforts to resolve the many problems caused by identity thieves.
Identity theft criminals are equal opportunity thieves, making this the fastest growing crime in America. Millions of us have experienced the devastating effects of having someone steal our personal information and use it to their benefit without our knowledge. But, please do not despair; there are many simple steps you can use to protect yourself against these criminals.
1. IDENTITY THEFT PRECAUTIONS – PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Your Social Security Number, pin numbers and passwords are all valuable to an Identity Theft criminal. It is best to memorize this information, or keep the numbers in a separate location from your purse or wallet.
2. IDENTITY THEFT PRECAUTIONS – DOCUMENT CONTROL
Important documents such as deeds, contracts, birth certificates, social security cards, etc., should be kept in a fire proof safe or bank safety deposit box. Anything you don’t have to keep, such as unused checks, and extra credit and debit cards should be shredded immediately.
3. IDENTITY THEFT PRECAUTIONS – INTERNET TRANSACTIONS
When you are using the internet to purchase items, pay bills, or even communicate via email, it is extremely important that you carefully limit what information you are posting and where you are sending it. Make sure that transaction web sites are secure and encrypted. Never put any of your personal information in an email, they are NOT secure. NEVER open a suspicious email or any attachments associated with it. This is a primary method of transmitting computer viruses and spyware.
4. IDENTITY THEFT PRECAUTIONS – HARD COPY BILLS AND STATEMENTS
It is vitally important that ALL bills and statements are reviewed each month looking for unauthorized transactions; if any are found contact the company immediately. As soon as you are done with them they should be shredded and thrown in the trash.
5. IDENTITY THEFT PRECAUTIONS – LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE
Get an unlisted and unpublished phone number to limit the amount of telemarketing calls you receive. Don’t ever give any personal information out over the telephone. You have no idea to whom you are really speaking. Also, consider having your mail delivered to a Post Office box therefore protecting your address from possible thieves.
6. IDENTITY THEFT PRECAUTIONS – REGULARLY REVIEW YOUR CREDIT REPORTS
Credit reports should be reviewed on a regular basis to look for mistakes and more importantly suspicious transactions that may indicate a stolen identity. You can immediately contact the credit bureaus to correct mistakes and also put a freeze on you credit information if you think it necessary, which means that you have to personally approve any requests for new credit applications to your name.