Identity theft is running rampant all over the world. We will show you how to prevent identity theft. No method is going to work perfectly to prevent identity theft, but by following these steps, you give yourself the best chance to avoid becoming a victim.
Stingy is Good
Be very conservative when volunteering personal information. Avoid advertising yourself online and in everyday life. If your social security number and phone number are on your personal checks, have them removed. If someone from your bank calls and asks for your social security number so they can process a transaction, beware. This is information your bank already possesses so a bank employee should not have to call and ask for it. If your email has a standard signature that includes your full name and phone number, remove this information. These are great tips on how to prevent identity theft.
Remember, always ask if someone really needs the personal information they are requesting. According to The Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org, in 2008, businesses reported their client database information had been breached 656 times, an increase of 47% over 2007. Limiting who gets your personal information is the best identity theft protection.
Your Bank Account and Credit Cards
Be aware of the transactions listed on your bank statements and credit card statements. With real time balances provided online and at ATM machines people are not balancing their checkbooks like they used to. Make it a habit to review all bank transactions monthly and keep an eye out for any item on the statement that is not familiar. The same is true for credit card statements. Read your statement monthly and keep an eye out for any fraudulent charges.
Your Cell Phone
This is also an important step on how to prevent identity theft. When you are speaking on your cell phone or any other phone where people are around, be careful of the information you relate to the listener. Avoid proclaiming to all who are listening around you your social security number, credit card account number, home address or other personal information. And remember, voices do carry. Even if you do not see anyone around, someone around the corner or in the next office might be able to hear you quite clearly.
Check Your Credit
Anyone can now request one free copy of their credit report yearly. Make a habit of doing just that. Request a copy of all three credit reports, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Go over each report with a fine toothcomb. Look for any credit cards, loans or other accounts that are not familiar. Look for any collection accounts or charge offs. Most identity thieves steal identities to run up a credit card or to get a loan.
By paying attention to transactions on your accounts, checking your credit annually and being cautious about volunteering personal information, you now know how to prevent identity theft.