With millions of people affected by identity theft each year, the below are some steps and strategies you can implement to ensure protection:
Criminals look for the path of least resistance. They look for shortcuts and the easy pickings for committing theft and identity theft crime.
One of the easiest pickings is when the victim publically broadcasts their personal information including address and phone number to the world.
Do not post or publish any of your personal information on items you own (example: keys, luggage, backpack, laptop, smartphone, or any other personal property.
Instead, tag your property with durable recovery tags, and key tags that offer worldwide protection. Attach the tag to identify and protect anything you wish. Make sure the tags do not have your personal information (name, address, phone number, email address) on them. Instead, use a recovery tag services that protect your identity. Use a service such as www.SearchAndReturn that protects your identity because each of their recovery tags has an individual serial number with a 24/7 call center contact information, instead of your name & address.
Check Your Credit Annually. Visit a website such as www.annualcreditreport.com for a free copy of your credit report and verify all information is accurate. For an extra layer of protection, consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service which can monitor all three credit reporting agencies in real time and alert you to any unusual activity.
Review Credit and Debit Card Statements Monthly. Take time to ensure all transactions are legitimate. If you see a questionable charge, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
Keep Your Personal Information Secure. Don’t share personal information such as your full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, address or phone number over the internet unless it’s a site you’ve initiated contact with and you’re certain it’s secure. Refrain from posting personal details such as your birthday or address on social media sites.
Limit What You Carry. Don’t carry your social security card and limit the number of credit cards you have on hand.
Purchase a Micro-Cut Shredder. This machine ensures that your documents cannot be pieced back together. Use it to turn old financial statements, bills; credit card offers and any other secure or personal information into paper confetti.
Opt Out. You can opt out of prescreened offers for credit cards, insurance and more by calling 1-888-567-8688 or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.
Keep Your Passwords Safe, Secure and Unique. Make sure your passwords are strong and get creative with them. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and spaces.
Safeguard your computer with firewall, antivirus and spyware protection and update them often. This will protect your computer and files against intrusions.
Don,t Click on emails until you double check. Be Cautious of What You Click. If you receive an e-mail from a stranger or even a friend with links and attachments, know that opening them could expose your computer and files to a virus. Ask yourself if any part of the e-mail looks suspicious before clicking on links or files.