Tuesday, December 24, 2019

4 Ways to Prevent Personal Identity Theft

We’ve all heard about identity theft and how the online environment is making it easier than ever before to have your personal identity stolen. Realize that when your identity is stolen, you’ll be spending months trying to eliminate accounts that were falsely opened, damage to your credit score, and so forth. 

Here are four methods you can utilize to help greatly reduce your risk of personal identity theft.

Shred Your Sensitive Documents

Yes, this time tested method is still vital to employ today. Many lenders and banks will still utilize traditional snail mail to send out vital information about your account. This is to protect against telephone fraud and other potential problems. However, it’s a great way to leak your personal information. 

Make sure that any sensitive documents that you want to dispose of are properly shredded or burned. It only takes a minute and can mean the difference between months of struggling to regain your credit standing.

Don’t Give Personal Information Over the Phone

If you weren’t already aware, then you should’ve learned from above that mail is still a necessary form of personal information exchange. Your credit card company will send sensitive data, such as your new account pin, in the mail to your location. They won’t give you a new pin over the telephone because they know that the telephone make their clients vulnerable to identity theft.

As a general rule of thumb, if you get called by a creditor or bank, don’t give out your personal information. This holds true even if the caller id shows the lenders name. You should opt for communicating via traditional mail or tell the creditor or bank that you’ll call them back. This way, you can dial their number directly so you know that you’re speaking to them.

Use Computer Protection

With the amount of stuff that you probably do online, you’ll be asked for personal information from time to time. Do your best to safeguard against fraud on your computer. 

This means activating the firewall, maintaining virus protection, password-protect any financial documents, and don’t automatically save your login information. These simple measures can help to greatly reduce your risk of identity theft.

Leave Sensitive Documents in a Safe Place

Any sensitive documents such as your social security card should be left in a safe place at home. Don’t make it a habit to travel around with these items as you put yourself at risk for accidentally losing them. 

It’s safer to keep them at home and only bring them to places when it’s necessary to do so.

As you can see, personal identity protection isn’t that hard to do. It simply comes down to having a few key practices that you employ regularly to reduce your risk of theft. The above four practices should be a part of your regular identity protection routine.

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