Identity theft can spell disaster and it can be extremely challenging to recover from it. You might think that identity theft is something that happens to other people and not to you. You can be in for a rude shock if you are not careful. Here are some tips on preventing identity theft.
1. Shred Your Documents
Invest in a document shredder and ensure that you shred all the documents that have important personal information like your credit card or debit card number, your account details, your social security number, etc. These documents include your ATM receipts, your bank statements, your credit report, etc.
2. Change Your Passwords Regularly
This is one of the tips on preventing identity theft that is most important for online transactions. It is important that you change your passwords on a regular basis. Most bank accounts will prompt you to do so, but even if they don’t, change your passwords regularly.
3. Create Strong Passwords
This is another tip for online accounts. Ensure that you create a strong password, i.e. an alphanumeric password with some alphabets in caps. Do not use common denominators like your birthday, your spouse’s or children’s name, etc. Create a password that is unrelated to you personally.
4. Create Multiple Passwords
This is one of those tips on preventing identity theft that is ignored frequently. Many, if not most people tend to use the same password for many different account. So, if a person gets hold of the password for one of your accounts, it becomes easy for him or her to break into all your online accounts.
5. Never Give Away Personal Information
This is one of the most important tips on preventing identity theft. Be very clear when and where your personal information is required and where it is not. Guard your personal information like your social security number, your ATM pin number and your bank account number with care and do not disclose it to anyone who is not authorized.
6. Beware of Phishing Scams
Many scammers send emails that look like they are sent by your bank asking you to reveal your personal information. Be aware of such scams and never provide your information. If you are in doubt, contact your bank and ask for clarification.
7. Store Your Documents Safely
There are many documents that carry your personal information and not all of them can be shredded. Ensure that these documents are always kept safely, under lock and key. Keep an eye on the post as you may receive notifications from your bank, creditors and other agencies and these documents may carry your personal information. Never leave them lying around. Also, never write all your passwords on a piece of paper as this may get lost.
You don’t have to live a life of paranoia to avoid identity theft. Just follow these tips on preventing identity theft and you should be safe and secure from scammers who are out to get your personal information.
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