Identity Theft is a horrible situation to deal with – one that never truly goes away. The best way to protect your identity is by taking preventative measures to keep it from happening in the first place.
Identity theft occurs when someone’s personal information, including financial data, is maliciously stolen and used. Typically, when this happens, the person behind it will apply for credit cards and/or loans, plus create other types of fraudulent forms.
The entire process can be messy to clean up, taking months, if not years, to do so. That raises the question, how does one protect their identity and prevent identity theft? There are several recommended steps to take to ensure your safety.
It may be tempting to use the same passwords repeatedly, but this is a mistake that can lead to identity theft. One of the best safeguards anyone can use is creating strong (and unique) passwords.
Furthermore, do not store these passwords someplace that is easily accessible. That includes your phone, a notebook by your computer, etc. For those concerned with managing so many passwords, consider signing up for a password management service.
Finally, remember to update your passwords regularly. This may seem overkill to many, but it adds an extra layer of protection, especially if something happens to compromise the site or password.
Watch Out for Scams
These days, individuals face hundreds of scams a year, including phishing scams. These people are looking to gain access to personal information by tricking others into thinking they are a legitimate source.
When checking emails, be cautious of phishing scams, and never give out personal information over the phone – especially if they called you. Finally, remember that most institutions will never ask you for your password.
Protect Sensitive Documents
Protecting sensitive documents comes in many forms. First, there are the documents one must save. Make sure these are securely locked away from prying eyes. Use a shredder or shredding service for documents that need to be destroyed (including junk mail that has personal information on it!).
Lastly, ensure that mail is collected from the mailbox promptly. If this isn’t feasible, consider getting a mailbox security system.