Sadly, identity theft is an equal opportunity crime. That’s also why understanding the methods to prevent identity theft is so important. Otherwise, you could become a victim and lose not only money but time and peace of mind, too. Below is some useful advice that might help protect you in the near future.
Handling Your Bills
One of the best methods to prevent identity theft is to minimize the chance that your personal information is going to end up in the hands of the thieves. For example, you should never place your bill payments in your home mailbox to be picked up by the mail carrier. Thieves can steal these payments easily. If you pay by check, the information on your check and on your bill tells the crook everything they need to steal your identity. The same is true if you’re paying by credit card. Plus, they can see your signature which can be copied.
Instead, you should pay online whenever possible or drop the payment off at the post office.
Reducing the Information You Carry
Did you know one of the most common methods of identity theft is stealing a wallet or a purse? The more personal documents you carry around with you, the more vulnerable you are to these crimes. That means a good way to prevent identity theft is to leave as much at home as possible. For example, you can leave your checkbook, unnecessary credit cards, and social security card at home in a locked box for safekeeping. By doing this, you’ll also make it easier to regain your stolen cards and documents.
Thinking before Speaking
In some cases, victims are simply too trusting and provide information they shouldn’t. For example, if you receive a call or a text message from someone claiming to represent your bank and requesting information about your account for some “urgent” reason, never give it out. Make up an excuse to call them back with the information then contact your bank directly through a local customer support number to report the incident. They will be able to reassure you about the status of your account and can warn other customers to be vigilant. And that brings us to another good method of prevention.
If you are a victim or if you are an attempted victim of identity theft, you should report the crime. Only with this information can law enforcement work to prevent identity theft in the future.