Identity theft rarely happens, so it's pretty likely that it will never happen to you, right? Wrong! Identity theft is extremely common, affecting an estimated 9 million Americans every year. Making sure your personal information is protected is important in preventing identity theft. There are a few extra safety precautions you can take to ensure that you're not the next victim.
The best ways to avoid identity theft
- Subscribe to an identity theft protection service. These companies offer services to help you in the case that you become victim to identity theft
- Put your personal documents in a safe. It is especially a good idea to protect items such as your social security card, birth certificate and passport.
- Protect your purse or wallet at all times. Keep your purse zipped or shut and don't leave your purse or wallet in the car.
- Photocopy the contents of your wallet like any credit cards, ID cards, and all other personal documents you keep in your wallet.
- Examine your bank account statements monthly to ensure that your accounts have no unauthorized charges. If they do, contact your banking institution immediately.
- Unsubscribe yourself from promotional lists such as junk mail and pre-approved credit card lists. You can be at risk of identity theft if a stranger gets their hands on your pre-approved cards.
- Cancel credit cards that you aren't using.
- Make all of your passwords something people would never be able to guess.
- Protect your computer with anti-spyware and antivirus software.
- Don't give your personal information to unverified sources whether over the phone or the Internet.
- Monitor your credit and take advantage of your free credit reports.
- Shred your personal documents before throwing them away, including mail, credit card statements and even receipts. Dumpster diving is a common method of stealing personal information for the sake of identity fraud.
photo by Brett_Hondow on pixabay