A collection agency calls and says it’s for an unpaid bill you were unaware of. Or maybe some charges did not come from you on your credit card account.
Someone commits identity theft when they exploit your private information for improper purposes. The imposter might use your personal information to get a loan, establish a bank account, make transactions using your credit card, or even get a false ID like your driver’s license or Social Security card. Here are some things you can do to lessen the likelihood of identity theft happening to you.
Protect Your SSN At All Costs
Only reveal your Social Security number once absolutely needed to do so. A Social Security statement is sent out annually to all citizens aged 25 and up. Find and fix any inconsistencies you find.
Keep your PINs in your head.
Never use the last four digits of your Social Security number, your birthday, your mother’s maiden name, or any other easily guessed information as a password or PIN. Don’t keep your passwords or PINs written down, either. Instead, try to memorize them.
All sensitive paperwork should be shredded or carefully torn. This category falls under bank statements, charge slips; credit card offers, insurance documents, cheques, and credit reports.
Keep Your Private Data to a Bare Minimum
Do not carry identification documents like passports, birth certificates, or Social Security cards unless necessary. It’s a good idea to create duplicates of your credit cards and write down the account details for your savings and investment accounts. Keep all this data safe, along with the contact details for each company’s customer care and fraud reporting departments.
Watch your Bank and Credit Card Statements.
Examine your monthly bank and credit card statements carefully for any signs of fraudulent or unauthorized charges. You should also monitor your billing cycles and immediately contact your financial institution or creditors if you still need to get your invoices or statements on the expected due date.
Identity theft may be to blame if you haven’t received a bill or statement in a while. The thief may have switched your billing address to hide their tracks.
Lock Up Your Mailbox
Mailboxes may be a prime target for identity thieves who are looking to get access to sensitive information. Immediately after receiving mail, take it out of your mailbox. Instead of putting departing mail in your mailbox, take it to a post box or the post office.
Take Extra Precautions with Personal Information
Unless you have started contact and are sure the firm is legitimate, you should avoid giving out personal information over the phone or online.
Purchase a Service to Protect You
Honestly, it’s probably best to just get LifeLock to help protect your identity and private information. Services like these are fairly affordable, especially when you think about how much damage could be done if someone did steal your identity.