Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

By: Tom Tessin

If you're young or you're old, protecting your identity is very important. If you don't already know, if someone steals your identity, they can cause serious damage to your credit report without you knowing. While you're not responsible for actions thieves make, it can take hundreds of hours just to patch everything up. This is why it's extremely important that you prevent this from happening.

There are many ways that thieves can get your identity. Some techniques it's very hard to prevent such as a department store hack where they access secure information via a store's server or by getting your number on the black market via the internet or other avenues. Listed below are a few ways that you can prevent yourself from someone stealing your identity.

Shred everything you get

Whenever you get something in the mail whether it's a pre-approved offer of it's a bill with your name on it, make sure that you shred it through a paper shredder. A paper shredder cost no more than thirty dollars at your local office supply store. It's always best to shred just about everything so that a crook can't piece it back together. Ripping the papers in half simply won't do, make sure that you shred them.

Watch the ATM

If you like to use the ATM a lot, make sure that you look around the machine before you pop in your card. Smarter thieves will place a device on the ATM machine that will actually steal all of your information. These devices usually look foreign to the machine. If something like this does show up on the ATM and you don't feel safe, don't use it and notify the bank immediately.

Don't put bills in the home mail box

Whenever you pay a bill or you're mailing a bill out, make sure that you don't place it in the mailbox at home. Thieves can simply take the mail out of your box and alter it so that the check looks like it's written out to them. The best thing to do is drop it off at the post office or a usps mailbox that's secured.

Don't give your information out

If someone requests information from you such as your social security number and personal information, don't feel like you need to give it to them. Make sure that only the correct officials receive information like this. Never ever give your personal information to someone you don't know over the phone.

Cancel inactive credit cards

If you have credit cards that haven't been used in six months, make sure that you call up the companies and cancel them. When you have credit cards this old, you probably don't check the online activity or the situation. This is an easy target for a crook.

Crooks will find many ways to steal your identity. It's important that you follow the steps mentioned above. You also have to remember that there are a million other ways to steal your identity. It's up to you to be smart about it.

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