A person’s identity can be stolen in a number of ways and, most often, the person whose identity has been stolen does not even know for many months, or even years. Identity thieves can use a person’s identity to purchase homes, cars, and obtain credit. Once discovered, victims have to spend a great deal of time trying to repair their credit history. Here is how you can protect yourself from identity theft.
With all of the social networking websites like Facebook, for example, people are sharing a wealth of their personal information on the Internet. It is recommended that you set your privacy settings to the highest level and do not share items such as your exact birthdate or any other information that could be used to answer a security question. Many sites will use a mother’s maiden name as a security question. Do not share information like that on social networking sites.
Maintain Your Anti-Virus Software
Keep your anti-virus and anti-malware programs up to date. You should also limit the amount of financial information that you keep on your personal computer. If you log on to different financial websites, do not save the password for those sites. Many sites will ask you if you would like to save the password. Decline this option every time.
Take Good Care Of Financial Documents
You will have several different physical financial documents around your house. Many will need to be kept for tax purposes. Some, like mortgage information, may need to be kept for as long as you are in the home. Documents that are not needed but contain your name and other financial information should be shredded. Also, any solicitations you may receive from financial companies such as credit card offers should be shredded as well.
Secure Yourself While Online
Your home Wi-Fi network should be secured at all times. Hackers can easily intercept unsecured communications these days. Make sure that in order to get onto your Wi-Fi network, a password must be entered. You definitely do not want to be doing your online banking on a network that is unsecured. Monitor all of your bank accounts and any credit card accounts closely. This way, you can catch any fraudulent activity.
Obtaining A Loan If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
People who have had their identity stolen will find it hard to obtain a loan. As mentioned, criminals will use a person’s identity to make all sorts of fraudulent purchases. The result is usually a damaged credit history for the victim. If this has happened to you, it is still possible to obtain a loan. A car title loan from a company like Embassy Loans of Florida is still an option. The loan does not depend upon a person’s credit history but more on the title and value of the vehicle being used as collateral.