Identity theft is a serious problem. And it seems to be becoming more and more common with the recent large scale hackings. It can happen to anyone, but there are ways to make your identity more secure. By knowing how to prevent identity theft, you can lessen your chances of getting your identity stolen significantly. Here are some easy tips to help you prevent identity theft:
- Review your credit reports each year. You can access a free credit report annually from AnnualCreditReport.com. This report will show you your credit scores from the 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You should examine your credit report to insure that there are no errors or mistakes. If there are, report them immediately.
- Along with reviewing your credit reports, it is also important to review your bank statements. Check them against your receipts to make sure that there are no unauthorized transactions. Even small charges that you haven’t made may mean that someone has access to your account and could wreak havoc later.
- Shred every piece of paper that contains information about you. Thieves can use your name and address to obtain more sensitive information. So, shred that personal data before throwing it away. Even if it is just a piece of junk mail, it is important to shred the part where your name and address appears. You don’t want to give anyone access to your information.
- Don’t give out personal information. Unless you absolutely have to, do not give out your Social Security number and passwords. Many companies may request it, but you do not have to give it. Whenever possible, keep that information to yourself. In addition, do not give confidential information out over email. If a company asks you for personal information, call them on the phone instead of replying directly to that email.
- Be careful when purchasing things. If you are buying something online, make sure that it is a secured website. You can tell by looking for https and the lock icon in the URL. If it does not have this, do not give away your information. It may just be a hack or scam. If you are shopping in person, make sure you have your cards with you at all times. Do not lend it to a friend or put it down anywhere. Furthermore, pay with credit, instead of debit, as it will offer more secure protections in the event that you do get hacked.
Identity theft can do a lot of damage. Apart from having unauthorized charges, you may end up spending years undoing the damage and getting your credit back on track. So, it is very important to do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen. By following these tips, you’ll hopefully be able to prevent identity theft!
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