Identity theft is a serious issue that’s impacting millions of Americans every year. It can be a downright scary though, someone getting access to your personal information and then acting as you to get credit and loans. If you want to know how to prevent it though there’s good news and bad news. You can’t completely prevent it. You information is always going to be vulnerable to some extent. Look at what happened with the large social media website Facebook. The good news is that there are steps you can take in order to minimize your risk. And that’s the name of the game, controlling the probability or risk.
We’ve put together a short list of actions you can take that will provide effective if done right.
Make sure to not provide your social security number unless you feel you have no choice but to. You SSN is the key to accessing all sorts of personal information about you so you want to protect it.
If you have any sort of important financial information on paper you’ll want to shred it. This can also include important healthcare information of prescription information. Any of this can be used to learn more information about you.
If you have a computer that you’re about to get rid of, then you’ll want to make sure you remove the hard-drive and wipe it clean. You don’t want to destroy it if you can avoid it, because technically destroying a hard drive is illegal.
Be sure you take steps in order to keep track of your credit report on a consistent basis. By checking your credit report regular it will be easier for you to spot things that aren’t supposed to be there.
Try your best to not carry around too many credit cards. When you carry around too many credit cards the likelihood you’ll lose one of them increases. Plus there’s a chance that you’ll come across someone with a credit card reader who might be able to steal information without you knowing it.
Check your bank statements in order to make sure nothing looks out of whack.
Any and all electronic devices you have you’ll want to make sure you password protect them somehow. The password should be strong and there should even be a second layer of protection depending on the particular device such as your smartphone.
Do your best to differentiate the types of passwords you use with the devices you password protect. If the passwords are too generic then the odds of more than one device being compromised goes up.
Make sure you understand what a phishing email is. These are fake emails that are designed to get you to provide legit information about yourself. They’ll claim to be a legit site such as a service you might already use. You have to have a keen eye in order to catch these.
Data is being shared at an increasingly higher rate these days and data breaches are happening far more often than what they should. You have to be careful about who and where you share your information. If you follow the tips mentioned above it will help minimize the chances that you suffer identity theft, but it won’t guarantee it.
What you should do is take additional steps in order to ensure you have a plan in action in case you are a victim. The use of credit monitoring sites for example would be a good first step. You might also want to make sure you know what the protocol is if something isn’t right like who do you call, what can be done, etc.