Thanks to technological advancements and good old-fashioned snooping, identity theft is getting easier and easier; however, you can protect yourself in a number of ways such as carrying only essential documents, protecting your computer and passwords, and regularly checking your credit report.
Identity theft is on the rise – especially thanks to today’s age of technology – but we’ve got some ways you can proactively prevent thieves and hackers from stealing your identity.
1. Carry Only Essential Documents
Your driver’s license, Social Security card, passport, birth certificate, credit cards – there are many documents in your life that prove who you are as well as provide additional personally identifying information about you.
A good rule of thumb is to carry only those documents you need and regularly use (such as your driver’s license or identification card and main debit or credit card) and store everything else locked away at home.
2. Protect Your Mail
Regularly check your mail, and when you’re out of town have your post office hold it until you get back.
Also, be sure to leave a forwarding address after you move.
3. Shred Your Garbage
Shred any personal document you don’t need or aren’t using anymore, such as:
- Old bank statements.
- Credit card bills or offers.
- Payment receipts.
Also Read: 5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft
When in doubt, shred anything that includes your name and any personally identifying information, even if it’s just the last four digits of your Social Security number (because often, even that’s enough for identity thefts to access additional personal information!).
4. Protect Your Computer and Passwords
Protect your computer with security features such as firewalls and antivirus programs. Such programs help keep even the most skilled hacker at bay.
Also, make sure your passwords and personal identification numbers aren’t just difficult to guess (for example, don’t use your birthday, your mother’s maiden name, or your favorite band), but also make sure they’re protected.
Avoid writing them down (especially if you don’t have a safe place to store them); instead, memorize them, and if you can’t memorize them, think of other ones you can.
Finally, don’t use the same password or personal identification number for every account; doing so helps identity thieves access even more of your information.
5. Sign Up for Identity Alerts
Some banks and other financial institutions as well as certain companies specialize in providing identity protection alerts.
For example, such institutions will flag and contact you about any suspicious activity regarding nearly any change to your identity – from changes to your physical or mailing address to additions to your credit accounts.
Contact your bank today to ask about such alerts; if your bank doesn’t offer them, simply research identity protection alerts. Of course, be sure to explore any company that offers identity alerts. You want to make sure you’re using a safe, competent service.
Use reputable research tools such as the Better Business Bureau to find out information including, but not limited to, how long the company has been in business; customer reviews; and complaint resolutions.
6. Check Your Credit Report
Regularly check your credit report to stay on top of identity protection. Your credit report gives you valuable information about your various credit lines; checking your report helps you ensure no one has opened any new accounts in your name.
Don’t just rely on a change in your credit score to notify you about a possibly identity theft; thoroughly go through each line of credit to make sure it’s a line you’ve taken out yourself.
7. File Important Numbers
Finally, make sure you keep a list of important numbers handy. Should any of your personal information or accounts be hacked or stolen, such as debit card or credit card theft, you want to be able to contact the bank or credit card company to immediately cancel the account. Having these numbers handy will help calm an otherwise panicky situation.
Contact a Personal Identity Theft Attorney Today
If you’ve become the victim of personal identity theft, contact personal identity theft attorney West Palm Beach at the law offices of Fetterman & Associates, PA today. We’ll provide you with a free consultation on how to move forward with restoring your identity and other rights as soon as possible. Give us a call at 561-845-2510 or contact us online right away.
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