10 Tips To Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft is no joke. Accessing bank accounts, social media, email, online shopping, and more puts your information at risk of being stolen. While you do what you can to protect yourself, you use your personal data in a variety of different ways that make you vulnerable every day. There are some very important steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are ten tips to keep your data protected from identity theft.
Clean up your browser and prevent future scams
- Destroy Statements and Records - Always ensure that you run all credit card bills, bank statements, and anything else carrying sensitive information, through a shredder before you throw them out.
- Safaeguard Your Mail - Adding a lock to your mailbox or using a P.O. box is a good way to keep your mail safe from theft. Additionally, mailing bill payments directly from the post office instead of your home is the best way to keep your personal information out of the hands of thieves.
- Keep Your Social Security Number Safe - Never carry your card with you or write your number down on unsecured documents. If stolen, your number could give thieves access to your credit report and bank accounts.
- Eliminate any Paper Trails - Never leave receipts behind at ATMs, self-check-outs, gas pumps, etc.
- Keep Your Credit Cards Close - Don’t let your credit cards out of your sight and when possible, use cash.
- Trust No One - Never divulge personal or financial information to people you don’t know. Especially when you have been contacted by phone or email by a company claiming to need your information. If you are unsure that you’ve been contacted by someone legitimate, place a call to the business yourself to verify.
- Stay Off The Hit List - When marketers call, request to have your name removed from their call list. Additionally, you can register with the National Do-Not-Call registry and opt out of credit card solicitations to cut down on junk mail.
- Freeze Your Credit - When you place a freeze on your credit, this means that nobody, including yourself, can open accounts under your name. This is highly recommended for parents to do with their small children or if you suspect your information has already been hacked.
- Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report - Subscribe to a credit score service that will allow you to obtain your credit score and monitor for suspicious activity. Checking your score at least once a year will allow you to react quickly and inform creditors of any alerts.
- Monitor Account Activity - Whether it’s your credit card bills or bank statements, reviewing your activity carefully will help you to identify any strange purchases made.
When it comes to protecting your private information, there is no such thing as too many precautions. What it all comes down to is paying close attention to your accounts, the activity on those accounts, and not divulging your information to unknown parties. There is no guarantee against identity theft. However, following these helpful tips will give you the edge over potential identity theft and how to identify suspicious activity.