December 5, 2015

Best Tips for Preventing Identity Theft

There are literally dozens of ways you can better protect yourself against identity theft.

You Don't HAVE to give that person your Social Security Number!

One of the most important things to remember is to withhold any personal information from third parties unless it is absolutely necessary. Companies that insist on processing your personal identifiers should be accredited and have a reputation as being an honest entity.  There are other institutions to watch out for when giving out your information, such as creditors, educational institutions, and even certain government agencies.

Please Don't Use Your Birthday as Your Password!

One way you can easily prevent many forms of identity theft is to put complex passwords on all your accounts, especially for your credit cards. Avoid using words like your mother’s maiden name, birthdays, or other general information that might be easy for criminals to guess. People can be very creative when finding ways to obtain information about you, so be creative with your passwords and try and use a mix of letters and numbers to further enhance the password.

Guard your Credit Card Number with Your Life

One thing that is very important to remember is  to keep your credit card numbers as private as possible. Avoid giving your credit card numbers away by phone, especially when it was a third party who initiated the phone call. Do not ever write the credit card number on any letters or envelopes that may get in the hands of the wrong people. Use a shredder on all your postal junk mail, as criminals often use pre-approved credit applications to get personal information from you. It is a good practice to shred all financial related documents before they go in the trash, thus eliminating the chance for ID thieves to get valuable personal info from you.

Read That Boring Bank Account and Credit Card Statement

You can prevent many identity thefts by simply paying good attention to your financial statements. Every time you receive a statement or bill, check it for unauthorized charges and report any immediately. This will get you the help you need to recover from the charges, as well as preventing a thief from continuing to do the same damage over and over. Pay attention to the time when statements usually arrive in the mail. If you find that your statements are not showing up on time, someone maybe using a fraudulent address to receive them. Check around with the company the bill was from or check with the post office to confirm that you are in the clear.

Why Not Get a Credit Report?

Obtaining copies of each of the 3 major credit reports is a free and easy way to check for any fraudulent charges or address changes that may occur. Under federal law you are allowed to view these reports for free once a year, and doing so can be paramount when trying to prevent or detect identity theft.

There is no way to prevent identity theft 100%, but taking the necessary precautions and paying attention to your financial statements will make it a lot harder. Thieves are most likely going to target those who remain ignorant to thee crimes, so preparing yourself properly will usually steer them away from you.

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