Protection Against Identity Theft

By: Ronnica Rothe

is important if you want to keep your finances in order. There are some simple steps that you can do to help prevent someone from wrongly using your information as their own.

Make sure you keep all of your private documents safe. Do not carry your social security card or birth certificate with you in your wallet or purse. Instead, place these and other important documents in a secure place such as a locked filing cabinet or a safety deposit box. Make sure you don't have any identification cards, checks, or membership cards with your social security number on them. If they do, ask the provider for a new identification number and card.

Shred any documents with personal information that you are throwing away. Whether it is a pesky credit card solicitation or old bank statements, shred them in order to protect against identity theft. This will help keep identity thieves from being able to open a credit card in your name or access your accounts.

Avoid buying from shady Internet sites. Make sure that when you are entering your credit card account number or other personal information that the "http" in the URL changes to "https." Also be leery of telemarketers selling things on the phone, and don't be too ready to give them account information.

Just like you should be careful of telemarketers, be careful dealing with solicitations online or through email. Access sites of financial institutions by entering their URL yourself rather than following a link from another site. This will help prevent "phishing," a type of identity theft.

When mailing in payments or other documents in the mail, take an extra second and make sure that your account number is not visible through the envelope, especially when held up to the light. If it is, use a security envelope or add additional paper to keep someone from a potential thief from stealing your account number.

Another type of is to watch when and how you use your personal identification number (PIN) on your debit card. Cover your hand to prevent those around you from seeing what numbers you press. It is a good idea to choose to sign instead of entering your PIN at the store when using your debit card.

There are several steps you can also do to catch identity theft early on before it has a chance to ruin your financial situation. Review credit card and bank accounts often for any unusual or suspicious activity. You should also review your credit report each year, which can be done for free. If you see anything that is not right, you can go about contacting the credit bureau to get it taken care of.

These simple steps can help . By being aware of what things that you do on a regular basis leave you vulnerable to identity theft, you can do your best to stop it from happening and avoid the stress and trouble.

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