Tips For Avoiding Identity Theft
Avoiding identity theft can become second nature for you, if you know what areas in your life are vulnerable.
Being caught unaware can cause you and your family much unnecessary heartache.
Tragically, it can be very simple for identity thieves to obtain your personal information.
Suppose you lose your purse or wallet, or it is stolen. You carry your...
- credit cards
- gas cards
- department store cards
- ATM cards
- social security card
...and, if you are like so many others, you also carry PIN numbers written down on something in your car, wallet or purse.
- Many men I know carry their wallets in their back
pockets, but also in the glove compartment or the trunk of their car
much of the time. Others carry their personal checkbook.
- We are a society of numbers, and identity thieves have many things to choose from.
One item is all it takes to have your identity stolen.
To see more areas in which we are vulnerable, go to identity theft scams and stop junk mail for more scams.
Tips For Avoiding Identity Theft Are Important To Know.
A Thief Loves These Items...
- Driver's License Number - this number is used to identify a person.
The thief can have a phony license made using his/her picture with your name and license number.
Another crucial problem to be aware of is dumpster-diving.
- Social Security Number - This number goes to everything we do, own, or want to own.
It's our financial life. We use this to obtain a job, file taxes, apply for credit, bank accounts, etc.
Your Social Security number can be sold or used by anyone once they have your card.
Interestingly enough, no one but the government has the 'legal' right to ask you for your Social Security number.
Avoid identity theft and protect your social security number.
- Date Of Birth - If your date of birth is used along with your social security number, the thief literally becomes you.
- Mother's Maiden Name - When accessing financial
information, a mother's maiden name is used to verify your identity or
open new accounts.
- Pin Numbers - This 4 or 5 digit number is used to access your bank accounts when you use your ATM card.
- Passwords - This is a secret password you have to access your information stored electronically.
If an identity thief has access to any of your passwords, it
is an open invitation to access your bank accounts, credit card
Information That Comes In The Mail Is Super Vulnerable
- Knowledge of the following information is critical in avoiding identity theft...
- Bank Statements - have your name, address, account
number, type and contact information. Your checking account, cancelled
checks, account numbers, etc.
- Pay Check Stubs from Direct Deposit - have your name,
address, and your employer's name, address, pay rate and social security
- Re-Orders of Personal Checks - these come to you blank and have your name, account number, address, bank name and address.
- Blank Checks from Credit Card Companies - have your name, address and account number.
- Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers - have your name, and
address and usually a special number you can use to phone, or go on the
Internet and automatically have a new credit card activated and sent to
- 401K and all Security Statements - have name, account
number, balance, name of company that has your account and sometimes
your social security number and contact information.
- Tax Returns/all Tax Forms - have your name, address,
your social security number and your spouse and dependent's social
- Annual Social Security Account Statements - have your name address, social security number, date of birth and account balance.
For more see email scams and identity theft software.
Identity Theft Solutions To Protect Your Mail
Believe it or not, protecting your mail is a big concern for avoiding identity theft.
- Make sure your mailbox is locked - it makes it much harder for thieves to access.
- Mailbox flags - this tells an identity thief you have personal information in your mailbox.
- Take outgoing mail to a Post Office - do not leave your mail vulnerable in a curbside box. It is much too available to thieves.
- Police have reported that stealing of mail from mailboxes has become quite a problem in many towns.
Avoiding identity theft of your mail is important. The thief is after your mail's personal information.
- Do Not leave your mail in your box overnight. If you have mail to go out, drop it in the box in the morning.
- Personal checks should be sent to your bank for you to pickup.
- Avoiding this insures that your blank checks won't be stolen.
- If you move, make sure you let the Post Office know right away so your mail always stays with you and there are no lapses.
- Mail all your bills that have so much personal
information on them at a Post Office or Post Office Box so your checks
can't be erased, (white washed), and used by the thief.
- If you have mail missing, report it to the Post Office immediately. This way the mail will only come to you.
- If you're going away, even for a weekend, have a
family member or trusted neighbor pick up your papers so they are not
left in plain sight.
My policeman father taught me that "out of sight is out of
mind". This is even truer in this day and age, and following this rule
all my life has saved me much heartache.
Now that you are aware of vulnerable areas thieves like, it will be much easier avoiding identity theft with these tips.
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