Avoiding Identity Theft

Avoiding identity theft doesn’t have to be hard; it just takes a bit of practice. When throwing away any papers with your information on them make sure you rip them up. If you are discarding an old magazine make sure you tear off the part that has your name and address on it. Scavengers love to use this part to take your life over or order items. If they can find your name or address they can take your identity.

Avoid identity theft at the ATM by placing a hand over the screen and standing directly in front of the numbers when you type in your code. Try looking around to see if there is anyone watching you. Be quick about what you are doing. Don’t blurt out your number because someone may be listening. If the teller is asking you your account number or password ask her if you can write it down instead. Make sure you get the paper back and rip it into tiny pieces before throwing it away.

To avoid losing your identity or becoming a victim of identity theft online or offline be careful whom you give your information out. That email you are about to reply to might have a criminal waiting to take your identity. If someone tells you over the phone or in an email that you’ve won something but they need certain information from you tell them to send it to you in writing. If something comes in the mail, research it. Go online and check it out or call your local better business bureau. If they aren’t legitimate then turn them in to the proper authorities before they try doing it to someone else. NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER!! Once a criminal has your social security number it’s pretty easy for them to get the rest of your information and you’ll quickly fall victim to identity theft.

One way to not fall victim to identity theft is to watch your financial information on a regular basis. If there is suspicious activity you will notice and would be able to stop it from going any further. Most people that fall victims to identity theft don’t catch the criminal until after they’ve done too much damage. Closely look over your bank statements, check to see if all those charges are things you made or your family members. Don’t just scan your statement or place it in a file folder, READ IT. Get a copy of your credit report and make sure it is accurate. If there is something on there you don’t recognize report it. Call them up and ask about it. The only way to stop identity theft is to be aware of it.

If you are a victim of identity theft you can avoid it from going any further by contacting the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Report it to your local police department and contact all your credit card companies to freeze all of your accounts.