Learn Identity Theft Protection

Identity thieves have become so creative and talented that no truly perfect protection scheme can be a guaranteed success. There are, however, many steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of victimization. Consider the following identity theft prevention practices, all of which can stop some identity theft before it happens. Although some may be more inconvenient to implement than others, are all recommended. With a few simple precautions, you can reduce the chance a con artist can go on a spending spree with your money or stealing your identify:

Social Security Number

Your Social Security Number is a key with which much of your identity and information can be unlocked. Guard it accordingly.

  • Use randomly generated alternate numbers for your driver's license if your state allows it
  • Do not have your Social Security Number printed on check blanks
  • Do not give your social security number to anyone who does not absolutely need it

We have become very casual about the use of our Social Security Numbers, and this has been a great benefit to identity thieves. If you tend to give away your number without a great deal of consideration, it is time to rethink your perspective.

Credit and Debit Cards

Although not all stores are sufficiently diligent about comparing receipt signatures to the back of a card, others are. Identity thieves cannot always be sure whether or not their signature will be compared to the one on the back of the card. Thus, you should sign your cards immediately upon receiving them. This can act as a disincentive for use among more "casual" identity thieves. Do not carry more than you need and don't carry extra check blanks or credit cards you are not planning to use.

PIN Numbers

  • Keep your PIN numbers a secret
  • Remember your PIN or personal identification numbers
  • Do not write them down
  • If you must write them down, leave the list at home. Do not carry it around with you

People who write their PIN numbers on the back of their credit cards are inviting trouble.

  • Choose good passwords and PIN numbers
  • Choose account passwords and PIN numbers that make it difficult for anybody to guess them
  • Avoid easily "cracked" codes like birth dates, common numerical sequences, etc.

Choosing good codes can prevent identity theft even if the would be thief is privy to other parts of your personal information.

Personal Information

  • When outside the home, be vigilant about keeping your wallet or purse on your person
  • keep those materials in a safe and secured place when in your place of work
  • At home, put documents containing personal information in a safe if you have one
  • Minimally, store the information in a non obvious location.

Shoulder Surfers

That person behind you in line at the ATM may just be another shopper short of cash. Or, they could be paying close attention to you in the hope of seeing your account balance and PIN number. If they like what they see, you might lose your card before you know it! Make it difficult for these criminals. Shade the monitor area with your hand when typing in your PIN and try to block others' view of the screen.

Personal Documents

Don't just throw your old billing statements and other documents containing important information into your garbage. There are "dumpster divers" who are willing to wade through old coffee grounds and rotten orange peels to get their hands on your data.

Invest in paper shredder and completely destroy such documentation. If you don't get a shredder, at least tear the materials into small pieces. When using this strategy, some believe in a two-bag approach. They will place half of the remains of a torn document in one trash bag and the other half in a different trash container in the home. Good garbage safety practices can reduce identity theft.

Mail

The mail service transports millions of pieces of personal information every day and is one of the most common sites for identity theft activity. Don't be sloppy with your mail. Empty your box every day. If you are leaving town, contact a close friend or relative to pick up your mail every day. Alternatively, contact your local post office and ask them to hold all mail until your return. Letting mail linger unattended is an invitation for identity thieves.

When sending mail, put your outgoing items directly into a secure postal mail box, hand them to your postman personally, or stop by the post office and mail them from there. That common mail drop at the office or the little mail slot at the grocery store customer service counter may be convenient, but they are not as safe as taking a more direct route to mailing.

Bank Account Numbers

Create and maintain a record of all of your accounts. You should record all account numbers, the business or banks address and telephone number and any other pertinent information. This will allow you to quickly and easily check for problems and to take action if you ever have concerns. It also allows you to keep better track of your finances, in general.

Watch Your Bills

Many of us simply pay bills as they come, and don't really pay attention as to when they should arrive. Train yourself to pay attention to billing cycles. A missed statement may be nothing more than a clerical error on the part of the company, but it can also be a warning sign that your mail was intercepted or redirected. Tracking your regular billing dates will help you see warnings before it is too late.

Credit Report

You should check your credit report every year, minimally. If you have experienced past victimization or have reason to believe you are particularly vulnerable, you may want to check your report even more frequently.

 Information Security and ID Theft
 What Identity Theft is About
 How Identity Theft Works
 Signs of Identity Theft
 Identity Theft Credit Repair
 Identity Theft in the UK
 Type of Identity Theft
 Why People Commit ID Theft
 Criminal Identity Theft
 Information About Identity
 Passport Identity Theft
Credit Card ID Theft
 Credit Card Identity Theft
 Pre Approved Credit Cards
 Debit and ATM Card Identity Theft
ID Theft In Business
 Business Identity Theft
 Access Code Identity Theft
Identity Theft On The Internet
 Identity Theft Phishing
 Online Identity Theft
Protecting Against ID Theft
 Learn Identity Theft Protection
 Guard Against Identity Theft
 Need Identity Theft Protection
Document Shredders
 Cross Cut Paper Shredders
 Confetti Paper Shredder
 Heavy Duty Paper Shredder
 Paper Shredders Office Use
 Cross Cut CD Shredder
Identity Theft Reporting
 Identity Theft Reporting
 How to Report Identity Theft
 Report Stolen Credit Cards
 Stolen Personal Checks
 Credit Reporting Agencies