Avoiding Identity Theft

identity-theft Identity theft is a serious crime that affects nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population each year. Criminals go to extreme measures to steal a person’s identity and can do so in a variety of ways. That is why it pays to be extra diligent with your personal information. Here are a few of the things you can do to protect yourself.

 

  • Keep all of your important documents in a safe. All of your family’s original Social Security cards, birth certificates, titles to your home, cars, and other important documents should be stored in a safe in your home. Most identity thieves want the easy score and will not waste time trying to break into a safe.
  • Take extra care with your wallet or purse. Men should know where their wallet is at all times. The same goes for women. The best purses for women are those that can be zipped shut. Purses or bags should be held close to the body when in public. Do not leave purses or wallets unattended in a vehicle.
  • Check your bank statements each month. An identity thief can easily access your bank account without your knowledge. Examine your statements every month for any suspicious activity.
  • Review your credit report periodically. Identity thieves can use your information to do a variety of activities including taking out loans. If the person who steals your information gets the title to your vehicle, he or she could use it for a car title loan. Car title loans are short-term loans that are easy to obtain. Companies like Embassy Loans of Florida help thousands of customers obtain them each year. Look at your credit report for new open lines of credit. This may be a sign that your identity was stolen.
  • Use difficult and different passwords online. If you use the same password to log on to your computer for emails, your bank accounts, and more, you are laying the groundwork for disaster. Use a different password for everything and do not use your birthday, your pet’s name, or your kids’ names in them. You should also use anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. Identity thieves work long and hard to steal your information while you are online.

 

These are just a few of the many things you can do to protect yourself against identity theft. You may even consider an identity theft protection service. There are companies out there that will assist you in preventing identity theft or help you if your identity has been stolen.