Protect Yourself with These 5 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft
Identity theft can affect numerous aspects of your life such as causing you to have trouble with buying a house, tax filing, or even getting insurance. Furthermore, it can also cause you to lose your peace of mind, time, and a lot of money in the process. Fortunately, there are several ways you can avoid identity theft and protect yourself.
Following are 5 ways you can protect your sensitive information and make yourself less vulnerable to becoming a victim to identity theft.
1. Protect Your Social Security Number
Your social security number is the key that can unlock your whole identity. That’s why protecting it is crucial. Never give this to anyone unless it is absolutely to give it out and you are sure of who you are giving it to. You can also ask companies that use your social as ID number (e.g. health insurance company) to give you a substitute number instead.
2. Review Your Credit Report Often
Review your credit report at least once per year, preferably once every six months. With regular monitoring of your credit report you will be able to find out about fraudulent accounts and then report them quickly. Furthermore, you will also be able to place a freeze on your credit. Doing this will prevent any unauthorized accounts from opening in your name as it will require creditors to contact you beforehand.
3. Ensure the Security of Your Mail
Most people ignore this, but it is very important that you protect your mail because it has your valuable information such as personal account numbers, etc. Collect your mail promptly from your mailbox and if you are away for any reason then contact your local post office and have them hold your mail until you return. If you are using mail to send bill payments, then it is recommended that you send it directly from post office or a public mailbox instead of sending from your home. Also, never throw your mail in the trash. Shred it.
4. Be Aware of Who You Are Speaking with, Over the Telephone or in Person
If someone contacts you and asks for your private or personal details, don’t give them anything until you become entirely sure of who they are and what they are calling for. Make sure that the call is legitimate before providing any information.
5. Do Not Keep Sensitive Information on Your Computer
Any sensitive information such as your social security number, name, address, birth date, and other identifying information should not be kept on computer as it is vulnerable to hacks. It is recommended that you print these documents and keep them in a safety deposit box.
The consequences of identity theft are severe and it can take a few months to even years to recover from. Following the above mentioned tips will go a long way in helping you to protect your sensitive information and prevent identity theft.
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