Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. An estimated 30,000 identities are stolen each day! You don’t have to be one of those 30,000 today. Or tomorrow. You can learn how to protect your identity.
Here are ten privacy tips to help you:
1. Monitor your credit card statements and bank statements at least once a month.
Look carefully over the statement to see if there are any unauthorized purchases. Keep in mind that thieves will sometimes start off making small purchases here and there in order to test the card number out. If you make a lot of small purchases yourself every day, start keeping receipts so you won’t forget anything.
2. Verify sources before providing anybody with personal details.
Phishing has taken a life of its own. It’s everywhere: Facebook, online games, email, phone calls, etc. If anybody contacts you for any reason and claims that they are with a well-known company, don’t trust them. A legitimate company will not contact you and ask you to verify any personal information such as passwords and checking account numbers.
3. Do whatever you can to protect that social security number!
Keep it in safe place in your home. Never take it with you when you go out, unless you know for sure that you’ll be needing it. If you do have to give it out at a hospital or on a job application, make sure that the people in charge of the information will keep it in a safe place.
4. Cancel credit cards and debit cards that you don’t use.
It might lower your credit score by a few points to do this, but you will recover from the hit in no time. On the other hand, it will take you years to recover if the card information is stolen. If you haven’t used a card in over a year and don’t plan on using it again anytime soon, just close it out. Or better yet begin using a business credit card to control your privacy and avoid identity theft.
5. Always choose strong passwords.
Password protect all of your accounts with a combination of numbers and letters. Try to keep the numbers and letters as random as possible. When you are asked for a security question, don’t choose something that would be easy for others to figure out. Sometimes it’s the people closest to the identity theft victims who manage to figure out their passwords.
6. Protect all of your computers and mobile devices with passwords.
Once again, you need to use strong passwords that NOBODY will be able to figure out. If you can afford to do so, buy a laptop with fingerprint software or face recognition technology. Set all of your devices to turn off automatically after an hour or so of non-use.
7. Consider investing in identity theft coverage.
Joining a theft coverage program just might protect you from a lot of frustration and financial loss in the long run. These services monitor any changes to your credit files. Think of how great it would be to have all of your financial accounts monitored 24/7!
8. Keep a watchful eye on your mail.
If you get your mail delivered to your house or apartment, make sure you get it in a timely manner. Don’t wait all day to go outside to pick it up. Don’t just leave it lying somewhere such as your office desk or in your unlocked car. When you’re through with it, put it through a paper shredder. Or better yet use Dropbox and TrueCrypt to safely store your information in the cloud. For a super ninja trick use a secure ghost address.
9. Do everything you can to protect your wallet and/or purse.
Only carry around what you will need for the day. If you only plan on using one card, take it, and maybe a backup card, with you. Leave the others at home. Safeguard all of your items when you go out. Check your wallet every few minutes to make sure it’s safe in your pocket. If you carry a purse, make sure it’s zipped up securely and that nothing ever falls out.
10. Photocopy all of your debit cards and credit cards.
That way, if you do lose any of them, you will have a copy of the numbers. It will be easy for you to report the card as lost or stolen.
Don’t forget to photocopy the backs of the cards, either. Keep these privacy tips in mind and you will protect your identity and financial information. You won’t be one of those 30,000 on ANY day!
Hopefully, you now have an idea of what privacy techniques you can implement in order to prevent identity theft. Keep these tips in mind and remember: ALWAYS go that extra mile to protect your personal information by implementing stealth tactics from How To Vanish The Book or The Mini-Guide To Personal Privacy.