How To Protect Against Identity Theft
In this age, it is essential to learn how to protect yourself from identity theft. It is easier to take steps to protect against Identity theft than it is to repair the damage. Once a criminal gets certain pieces of information about you, he can ruin your credit by opening accounts without your knowledge. Cars, credit cards and even houses can be purchased with stolen information. With a few steps you can lessen your chances of being a victim.
- Invest in a shredder. Bank account statements, credit card bills and other financial statements all contain information that can be used to steal your identity. If you can't afford a shredder, use a black marker to obscure your name, address and any account numbers before you put your statements in the trash.
- Leave your social security card at home. Your social security number is a key piece of information that can be used to open new accounts. Keep your card in a secure location unless you need it for a specific purpose.
- Do not send financial information to unsecured websites. When sending a payment, look for a small padlock in the toolbar. The padlock indicates that the site is encrypted so the information will be difficult, but not impossible, to steal. If a website appears suspicious to you, do not send your credit card number or any other sensitive information.
- Check your credit report regularly. You are entitled to a free credit report once each year. If there are any accounts you do not recognize or other inaccurate information you may be a victim of identity theft. Contact the creditor immediately to open an investigation.