There are numerous ways to prevent identity theft. You must take specific key steps to prevent this from happening to you, your family and to keep your personal information safe.
Some say you can't prevent identity theft.
I think that is a very debatable statement.
Most of my friends and acquaintances that this horrible crime has happened to, (I've known many of each), would vigorously debate this issue.
They all came to the conclusion that in most cases you Can stop identity theft with the correct knowledge on the subject and putting your knowledge to use in all the specific areas this website gives you.
1. Use a shredder.
Using a shredder stops your personal information from ending up in a thief's hands. A crosscut shredder is the best, as it cuts in a 2 way (cross) cut, rather than just a strip method.
Note: The inside of many magazines, such as catalog magazines will have your name, address and account number on an insert in the middle of the magazine.
Someone I worked with 15 years ago tipped me off to doing this. I truly thought she was going a little overboard at the time.
Guess What! I don't think that anymore. I now practice this useful tip myself and, unfortunately, I get a Lot of magazines that fit this profile, so I rip and shred quite a bit.
2. Carry minimal personal information. If your wallet is lost or stolen it will minimize the damage.
Identity theft precautions are important to be aware of.
Check all the different scams out there and see below for help and information regarding stolen wallets and identity theft scams.
3. Watch your credit card receipts.
You should always watch what is done with your receipts wherever you go.
In restaurants I make sure I don't leave receipts lying around on a table or counter and make sure the waitress puts the receipt away where it is "out of sight, out of mind".
This is simple, and another one of the ways to prevent identity theft.
4. Make sure your mail is safe and secure.
Thieves that are out for your identity have been known to break into mailboxes for people's personal information.
Don't leave your mail in your mailbox for long periods of time, or overnight. Pick up your mail promptly and if you're going away for a period of time, ask the Post Office to hold it for you.
For important identity theft prevention have your personal or business checks sent to the bank for pickup.
This stops the identity thief from stealing your checks from your mailbox and using them.
Note: Thieves have a process they use when they steal checks from your mailbox.
They do what's called "Wash" the checks so all the information such as who the check is made out to, date, amount and signature are totally wiped off so the thief can make out the check with their own information. Scary thought, right?
5. Pay attention to the billing cycles of your bills.
If your bills are late in arriving, check with your creditors to make sure an identity thief hasn't stolen your account or changed the billing address.
If this is the case, you won't know until much later that your identity has indeed been stolen.
6. Always monitor your credit.
One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to have your free credit report run from each of the 3 credit bureaus.
I like to run one report from each agency every 4 months. This makes the chances less likely I will miss something happening regarding my credit.
One of the best identity theft solutions is to consider signing up with one of the services, such as www.experian.com, or your bank, that monitor your credit for identity theft.
7. Business security procedures.
Find out what procedures are used in the business's you deal with, doctors office, work place and any other establishment you do business with that collect your personal information.
Know who has access to it, how they dispose of it, who they give access to your information and how secure it is.
This will certainly minimize the exposure of your personal information.
This is another of the big ways to prevent identity theft.
8. Be very selective of who you give your personal information and under what circumstances.
Don't give out your personal information indiscriminately when on the phone, or over the internet, unless you know the company is reputable and you made the first contact.
9. Protect your Social Security Number.
Only give this out when absolutely necessary or when it's required by law.
10. Protect your computer with a firewall.
This helps prevent hackers from stealing your personal and financial information on your hard drive. If you ever get rid of your computer, make sure you use a very strong "wipe" utility program to remove all the data.
Other ways of preventing identity theft include using anti-virus and anti-spyware to protect your computer. Also, use difficult passwords with letters and numbers that make it harder for a person to figure out.
It is also extremely important to safeguard all your other vulnerable areas.