No one wants to be a victim of identity theft. You could spend years trying to put your life and your financial picture back together. But most of us do not know what we should be doing for the best identity theft protection. We may not even know if there is anything we can do. Here are some tips.
Invest in a Shredder
More than 40% of identity theft happens because of stolen documents, according to a Javelin survey, including those you have tossed in the trash. If you think about all of the personal information someone could find out about you just by looking at your bills, it should scare you. By shredding everything before you throw it away, you make this one less way to become a victim. The cost of a shredder is nothing compared to the protection from identity theft it offers.
Protect Your Mail
Did you know that some identity thieves found out all of the information they need about their victims simply by stealing mail from their mailboxes? Here are two ways that are the best identity theft protection options for these scenarios. First, if it is an available option, always have your bills sent to you electronically. Then there will be no paper trail for thieves to find. You can do this with your bank statements, too. Second, invest in a post office box. That way no one but you can get into your important mail.
And don’t forget: if you’re leaving on vacation, always have someone pick up your mail from your mailbox every day or two.
Join an ID Protection Service
A number of these services have appeared on the scene in recent years. Some are even affiliated with the three national credit bureaus. These services are designed to monitor your credit report, public records, and other files and will alert you if they notice any suspicious behavior. Although this may not provide complete protection from identity theft, it can prevent the damage from getting out of hand and can make getting your life back to normal much easier.
Be Careful on the Internet
According to the Javelin survey, only 11% of identity theft cases occurred through the Internet. However, the number of cases is growing as more people become victims of phishing scams and other types of online scams. Never give your credit or debit card information to a site you do not trust and always make sure the site is secure before submitting any personal information, including passwords.
Just by taking these simple actions, it can help prevent a lot of pain and give you the best identity theft protection.