How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real threat in today’s world. But there are ways you can help to prevent having your identity stolen.

To begin with, only carry the ID cards, bank and credit cards that you use often. Keep your other cards in a safe place rather than carrying them with you. Never leave your purse unattended – even for a moment. And be sure your checks do not have your social security number on them.

If you are going on vacation, have your mail stopped instead of having a neighbor pick it up each day. Never leave your mail in the box for a long period of time. Then, when you receive bank and credit card statements, review them immediately for anything that looks incorrect.

A paper shredder should be as common as a microwave in your household. Shred anything that has your name and address on it. All documents containing any form of personal information should be shred rather than thrown away.

Never tell anyone personal information over the phone unless you placed the phone call and know who they are. Memorize your PIN numbers and your passwords, and never store those on paper at home or in your wallet.

While on the internet, be sure you do not reveal any personal information on bulletin boards or other non-secure websites. Only shop on sites that you know well.

If you are at an ATM or other machine where a PIN code is necessary, look around to be sure you are not being watched. Also, do not call your bank on a public phone when a PIN number will be required.

Finally, don’t be as trusting as our parents probably were years ago. If a company you are dealing with asks for personal information, ask them why. Inquire about how they will be storing it and who will have access to your file. If you are not happy with the answers, refuse to give them your information and do business elsewhere

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