Waking up one day to find everything you have worked hard for has been compromised is like a nightmarish dream you’d wish to really wake up from. This is what happens when you become a victim of identity theft. Everything you have, your home, family and work is at risk and it may take many years before you get everything back to normal. These days where everything can be accessed in a few clicks of the mouse, nobody is truly protected. Statistics show that there is an estimated nine million people who fall victim to identity theft each year, and if you’re not careful, you could be next.
Secure your Personal Identity Documents
Though it screams convenience, keeping all you personal ID’s and credit cards in one wallet or purse only makes life easier for criminals. So, separate your IDs and keep only what is essential for your daily routine. Avoid bringing all your credit cards with you and leave your check book when you will not use it. More importantly, never bring your PIN with your credit cards and avoid using your birthday as your PIN.
Shred when Disposing Important Documents
Any documents with your identifiable information are at risk including your credit card offers, bank statements, receipts, medical claims and others. Many identity theft do “dumpster dive” in search for these kind of information. It’s better to be safe and have this kind of information in shreds in case they find it.
Protect Your Mails and e-Mails
Identity thieves sometimes work aggressively and steal right from the source. Don’t leave your mailboxes out overnight and have someone collect your daily mails if you are on vacation. If you notice your mails have gone lighter and some important bills are missing, check with your postal service for potential fraudulent activity. When sending out important mails, opt for secure boxes provided by the post office.
Be alert when keying usernames, passwords and other sensitive information on some websites or emails. Check the URL information on the address to ensure that you are on the correct site. Some phishing sites mirror the look and feel of websites to get user’s information. So check for SSL encryption by verifying browser icon before giving out sensitive information. You may also look for third-party security verification such as VeriSign if making credit card payments over the internet.
David Castillo Dominici _ FreeDigitalPhotos.Net