13 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

identity theft preventionTake steps to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Secure your social security number (SSN). Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birth date, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
  • Contact the three credit reporting agencies to request a freeze of your credit reports.
  • Collect mail promptly. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Enable the security features on mobile devices, especially if you have contacts, banking websites and applications saved.
  • Update sharing and firewall settings when you’re on a public wi-fi network. Consider using a virtual private network, which can give you the privacy of secured private network.
  • Review your credit card and bank account statements. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions. Use a monitoring service.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information. Explore this shredder.
  • Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
  • Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
  • Review your credit report once a year to be certain that it doesn’t include accounts that you have not opened.

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