Image by Vincent Bithell
What is the one thing you fear the most as a human being? Maybe a car crash? Losing a loved one? How about identity theft? Let me tell you it is a terrible thing when someone gets a hold of your private information. You feel violated and most definitely not safe. I was a victim for a very short time of a small situation so I can’t imagine having my identity completely stolen like so many Americans deal with every day.
Upon researching ways to better protect my identity and the identities of my family I found 15 ways to protect your identity on a site called bank rate. Get out a pen and paper to take notes. I think this information is important for everyone.
15 ways to protect yourself against identity theft
1. Don’t allow anyone to stand by you too closely while at an ATM machine. Gawkers can watch you punch in your PIN and have it memorized in seconds.
2. Don’t throw away receipts with credit card information, even if the full number isn’t printed. It is best to put it in a safe box or fire box until the bill arrives.
3. Shred all important documents if not needed anymore. Documents like medical statements, financial statements etc., should be shredded ASAP. Throwing them as is in the garbage is a free for all for identity thieves.
4. Make sure you write clearly on all credit forms and applications. Be sure to address it the same way each time.
5. Monitor your credit cards carefully daily. Keeping your eyes and ears on any strange purchases is beneficial. As soon as you see any strange activity don’t just cut up your card, close it immediately.
6. Limit how many credit cards you have. It is highly suggested to only have one or two good credit cards to your name, this way you can keep track of everything easier than you would with multiple credit cards.
7. Check for information on your credit reports each time you receive them. Be aware of any information that does not belong to you. Also, be on the look out for errors as credit bureaus do tend to make mistakes.
8. Do not put paid bills in your mailbox. This is easy and instant access for identity thieves. Take a trip to the mail box or post office to submit the bills securely.
9. Make sure you update and communicate with credit card companies if you are moving just to stay up to date on address changes etc.
10. Always protect your Social Security Number. Only give it when you absolutely have to.
11. NEVER carry your Social Security Number and your Driver’s License together in your wallet.
12. Do not give personal information such as your SSN to telemarketers, etc.
13. When shopping online, be sure to look for the “Trust-e” symbol or Better Business Bureau online seal. The proves the website and trustworthy.
14. Make sure all online purchases with credit cards are handled through a secure site or in an encrypted mode. Look for https in the address bar rather than http. This proves if it is secure or not.