Friday, November 15, 2013, AM | 4 Comments
Identity theft happens when, regardless whether you provided information or was stolen, someone accesses essential elements of your identifying information in order to commit fraud or theft. This information includes name, address, Social Security Number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name.
Many identity thieves use this personal information in order to open credit card accounts, obtain loans and even mortgages in the victim’s name.
That means your person would be in more than one place to use your good name and make it bad. In that case, you are in big trouble, mister.
While it is not possible to protect yourself from all types of identity theft, there are steps that you can take to avoid fraud.
You can reduce your risk and safeguard your identifying information by following some simple guidelines.
Protect your mailbox
Your mailbox is a favorite target of identity thieves, so it is important to always remove your mail as soon as a delivery is made for the day.
Also, deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office to lower the risk of identity theft happening to you.
Protect your wallet
Identity thieves also try to get access to people’s wallets, no kidding. Minimize your risk by keeping items with personal information in a safe place at home.
Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse. It used to be “Memorize your Social Security Number” and never write it down on anything you carry. Identity thieves look for information on old receipts.
Don’t leave receipts at ATMs, bank counters or gasoline pumps. In fact, it is a good idea to destroy all of your receipts when you no longer need them.
Protect your credit and debit cards
There are some very important precautions to take with your credit card. Whenever you receive a new credit card, sign it immediately. Never loan your credit card to anyone, under any circumstances.
Notify your bank and other issuers when you change your address or phone number and be sure to report all lost or stolen cards immediately. Never put your account number on the outside of any envelope.
In a Nutshell
These three steps should be followed as the very minimum. Under no circumstances should you provide your personal information to any stranger, whether in the physical world or the more expanding universe called the Internet.
The following general statement is printed on my SSN card.
- Keep this card.
- SIGN it immediately.
- Show it to your employer.
- Mention the number in all letters about your account.
- If you lose this card, apply for a duplicate, not a new number.