10 Identity Theft Protection Tips
You may need these 10 identity theft protection tips to protect yourself and your personal data from fraud. Identity protection is the foremost priority of businesses and individuals these days when technology and ingenious tactics allow personal, valuable information to be used by a perpetrator illegally, often causing huge financial and credibility losses.
- Personal information must be kept personal. The most common identity theft issues stem from loss of personal information, often through fraudster acquisition of personal information such as name, address, telephone numbers, birth dates, maiden names, social security numbers or credit card numbers. This is information to be provided only to trusted individuals. Beware of random phone calls that try to get personal information to confirm sales. Avoid hastily putting credit information over the internet unless you are confident the website is trustworthy and safe.
- Invest in reliable protection software for your PCs. Identity theft on the internet poses a challenge that is difficult to prevent. The availability of information in a highly complicated but easily accessible network of computers makes it easy for fraudsters to tap into your network and hoard valuable details about you. It is wise to invest on firewall systems, spyware, anti-phishing software and anti-virus software for your computer.
- Check your credit status regularly. Victims of identity theft often find themselves in debt for purchases they never made. Looking into one’s credit status regularly may flag a warning on this kind of activity. Moreover, a victim should report any identity theft incidences to the credit bureau to ensure the protection of his name.
- Keep tabs of what items you have in your wallet. Credit cards, employee IDs, insurance cards or any pertinent documents that are kept on the purse or wallet must be photocopied. In case a victim loses the wallet, it will be easier to identify which valuable items are missing.
- Use gel pens instead of ink. Identity theft protection against check fraud should also be prioritized. Although financial institutions have a strict verification process, perpetrators may use various techniques of preserving a signature in a check with tapes. Gel pens’ pigments seep deep into the paper, thus preventing criminals from extracting the ink to create blank checks with fraudulent signature.
- Be friends with the shredder. Shredders are effective in eliminating documents particularly in businesses that work with classified information. Cross-cut shredders are popular these days as they allow papers to be cut into tiny pieces, making it quite difficult to put documents back together.
- Do not check “Remember me” at online logins. This is one step that should never be forgotten, especially when using public computers as in internet cafes. Limiting chances for computer hackers to gain information on personal accounts such as personal pages and online bank accounts is a good preventive measure.
- Old computers need to be disposed of correctly. Information from old computers may be extracted even if the unit is no longer working. Computers may contain information on bank account numbers, personal data and other personal information.
- Do not leave important documents lying around. It’s not easy to tell whether an offender is looking over your shoulder to fish for information on what bills you have. Any details pertaining to an account or documents that have "money info" on them must be kept protected as in safety deposit boxes or similar places. Identity theft protection should not be taken for granted even in places where one feels most comfortable.
- Keep your keys safe. Identity theft could begin with a simple disposal of a name and a birth date. Losing your keys will open the doors among fraudster to a convenient way of obtaining valuable information about you in your home, car or office.