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How To Reduce Your Risk To Identity Theft

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 9:47 PM


Several steps can help you reduce the possibility of having your identity stolen

Buy A Shredder – You can purchase a shredder for a relatively cheap price these days at any office supply store. Any piece of paper that contains your personal or financial information or your social security number should be shredded before throwing it away.

Get A Locking Mailbox – People are always receiving bank statements, credit cards, credit card offers, checks you can write off of your credit card account, medical bills, etc. Think of all the personal information on these documents. A lot of times identity thieves will just follow the postal carrier around and snatch up mail after it has been delivered.

Protect Your Outgoing Mail – With all the mail that comes in, think of all the mail that goes out that has your information on it. When you pay your bills by mail it will have your account information on it. If you still pay your bills through the mail, consider taking your outgoing mail to the post office rather than leaving it in your own mailbox. Consider paying your bills online if at all possible.

Keep Track Of Your Receipts – Most receipts won’t have your full account number on them, but some actually will. Be sure to keep good track of them, or if you don’t need them anymore, use the shredder.

Keep Your Financial Documents Locked Up – In case anyone breaks into your house, or someone you thought you could trust tries to go through your personal stuff, it is important to keep any document with personal information locked up in safe or locking file cabinet.

Be Stingy With Your Social Security Number – Sometimes businesses will ask for you Social Security number for their records, but not all have the right to demand for it. You will need to provide it to a few places like employers, financial institutions, or government agencies.

Know What’s In Your Wallet – Don’t carry your Social Security number with you or have it on your checks. Don’t carry many debit or credit cards with you. For whatever credit card you carry, you should know what number to call in case your wallet is stolen. This should be done immediately.

Ask Businesses About Shredding Policies – If you do have to give personal financial information to any business, feel free to ask how they dispose of the information once they are done with it. If they don’t have a shredding policy in place, then maybe you should take your business to a place that does.

Opt Out Of Credit Card Solicitations, Junk Mail, And Telemarketing – There is a toll-free number (888-5-OPTOUT) that the credit bureaus have that allows you to take your name off any marketing lists that are sold to credit card companies. It won’t completely eliminate solicitations, but it should cut down on them. There is also a line to stop telemarketers from calling.

Don’t Use A Cell Or Cordless Phone To Discuss Financial Matters – Wireless signals can be intercepted, or you could be overheard in a public place.

Be Wary Of Telephone Solicitors And Emails Claiming To Be From Financial Institutions – Don’t give out any of your information unless you were the one that initiated the contact. Criminals are getting better at “phishing” which usually uses an email claiming to be from your bank and directs you to a look-alike site where you would input your personal or account information.

Monitor Your Credit Reports – Continually monitoring your credit reports will help you catch any suspicious activity a lot quicker than if you didn’t discover something until you applied for a loan or other line of credit.
Giants91Giants914 posts since
Feb 1, 2013
Rep Points: 7
1. Friday, April 26, 2013 - 12:54 AM
To effectively reduce the risk of identity theft, one has to be smart especially when it comes to their information and anything financial-related. Thus, people need to go to great lengths to secure their information. Lock your mailbox, shred any document or paper you throw in the trash, observe ATMs for skimming devices, follow your cards when you use them in restaurants, gas stations and other establishments, install antivirus software to prevent keyloggers and malicious codes, never give out your information to anyone posing as your bank representative especially online or over the phone, always check for the privacy policy and encryption details of a website if you use your card to shop or pay for bills online and most importantly, monitor your credit score and check your credit reports regularly. For more tips, you can simply visit 9 Easy Steps to Protect Your Credit From Identity Theft - Finance - PersonalFinance.
joymalijoymali16 posts since
Apr 6, 2013
Rep Points: 23
2. Friday, May 10, 2013 - 3:51 AM
By being prepared, smart and by anticipating what thieves could do. Put a lock on your mailbox, shred documents before throwing them in the trash, use cash as much as possible, verify websites’ legitimacy before transacting, keep your eye on your card whenever you use it, be wary of skimming devices and be alert whenever you receive an email or a phone call from a person posing as a bank representative. Another good option is to sign up for the best identity theft protection plan so you are always updated of changes in your score and immediately take control of the situation whenever you suspect any signs of identity theft.
amyjk5amyjk520 posts since
Mar 29, 2013
Rep Points: 25