Here Are 14 Ways To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

If you, or someone you know, has ever been a victim of identity theft then you will know how painful and stressful a situation it is.

Identity theft is a growing crime and every day a larger number of criminals are developing new methods to steal your identity.

identity-theft-prevention

Here’s a reminder of how you can limit their opportunities to steal your identity –

  1. Do not carry more than one credit card in your purse or wallet.
  2. Make copies of your birth certificate and passport before traveling.
  3. Do not give out any personal information to any caller.
  4. Change your pin number often, especially when using ATM machines.
  5. Check your credit reports yearly.
  6. Check every monthly bill to determine that the purchases are your own.
  7. Use a shredder to destroy any and all mail with your name on it.
  8. Never give out your social security number to anyone.
  9. Do not throw away your receipts – either save them for tax purposes or shred them.
  10. Ensure that whatever credit card you use has identity theft protection.
  11. Contact the three credit bureaus to have them add a fraud alert to your file in the event you become a victim.
  12. Make photocopies of your credit cards (front and back) and your driver’s license.
  13. If your wallet or purse is stolen then you should contact all credit card companies, credit bureaus and the Social Security Administration, as well as reporting the theft to the police.
  14. Check with your bank often to ensure your account is protected, and check each item on your bank statement as well.

The above steps are just some of the ways in which you can protect your good name, financial standing and future credit potential.

If you believe that your identity may already have been stolen then you can find some advice here : Essential Responses If You Believe Your Identity Has Been Stolen

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Another good one is to never (ever) click on links from “banks” that pop on your e-mail, not even if it’s alerting you that your latest statement is out, your password needs to be changed, etc. What I do is go to the bank/credit card company/whatever website and bookmark the login page directly.

    A lot of the emails look really legitimate too, it’s very disconcerting how big of a problem this is becoming.

  2. The one with receipts is pretty important because it’s often overlooked. People don’t realise how much a skilled scammer can do with a receipt. Even if it’s for something as innocent as a pair of pants.

  3. Michele Shannon says:

    In America, identity theft is out of control. There is no prevention, although you have said it can be prevented by taking certain measures. Our information is in over 200 data bases nationwide, and they are the ones who put us at risk. It has nothing to do with how much we shred, or what we do or don’t carry in our wallets. Breaches have become the thieves favorite source for identity theft, and no one knows how to stop it or prevent it. I am a CITRMS, or Certified Identity Theft and Risk Management Specialist. I help to educate people on what ID theft is and what it isn’t. If you are going to post on your blog about this insidious crime, please be sure that you have all the facts. For those who have become victims, it can be a never ending nightmare without proper protection in place BEFORE the crime occurs. There are products to protect, but there is nothing to prevent. Thanks, Michele Shannon

    • I have to admit that I’m no expert on this crime – I’m learning as I go along too.

      Here in the UK it’s a similar tale too and our government is also creating hundreds of (in)secure databases to store every facet of our lives on.

      They can, and have, been lost. That worries me.

  4. Dionne Collins says:

    Love the picture you used for this article, it is very abstract.

  5. Ignore these tips at your peril people.

  6. That’s a comprehensive list of tips. Mostly obvious but a good reminder nonetheless.

  7. Great advice, thanks.

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