Identity theft has become a very real and dangerous crime for those of all ages and various walks of life. Even though this theft is not actually physical, it can ruin a person’s life for many years to come. There are many steps that can be taken to help prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft.
A major step in preventing yourself from being a victim of identity theft is simply not to leave personal or financial information lying around, not even at your own home. Sadly, most of the time, friends and family members are the identity thieves of their victims. Keep anything, checks, credit card information, and social security numbers, locked away in a safe place where only you can access them. Also, if you get financial or personal statements through the mail, do not throw it away. Invest in a paper shredder then toss the remnants away. If possible, view your bank statements online to avoid receiving a paper copy at all. This will save you the hassle of having to worry about shredding it, but you will also be able to see any fraudulent activity on your account quicker than waiting on a mailed statement.
There are so many companies that ask for your social security number when signing you up for services or when you’re purchasing goods. Many times, this is not required. Do not give out your social security number to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Your social security number is the easiest way for a criminal to steal your identity.
Another easy way for someone to steal your identity is through your computer. Emails, messages, and social media visits, all contain valuable personal information about you. It wouldn’t take a trained thief long to access this information if left available to him. Make sure your computer is always secured with a password. There are so many files and applications and sites that require you to use passwords. Make sure you do not use the same password for every sign in. It may be difficult to remember all the passwords but it’s better than having to worry about your identity being stolen. Also, if you ever want to sell or dispose of your computer, deleting all the files and applications is not enough. You must wipe your computer clean of all information. Based on the type of computer you have, there are instructions on how to do this correctly.
There are so many ways to help you from becoming a victim of identity theft other than the ones mentioned. However, common sense is a virtue where identity theft is concerned. Use it as often as you can and chances are you will never be the victim of identity theft.
Identity theft is often in the media. Someone gets another person’s personal information, ruins their credit, steals all the money from their bank account, and really ruins that person’s life for years.
Most media topics cover the financial and law enforcement aspects but what about the fear and pain that person goes through. This can be emotionally devastating and may lead to thoughts of suicide in extreme cases. Posting your resume online can also be a potential identity theft threat.
Imagine if you have been saving a little bit each month for years to finally be able to purchase something you have always wanted. You are working very hard for this reward and you deserve it.
One day you wake up and your bank account is empty and the bills start coming in the mail. The sense of helplessness and loss would be terrible. Another consideration is the technology you use. Some tech gadgets like FitBit can be hacked, and your data stolen. GPS devices are also vulnerable to hacking, which can lead to identity theft.
You may never know who did this to you. Where did they even get the information? From far away or from your own home? The ability to trust others will be hard to get back for a while and you may need serious help to recover from what has happened.
There are many different places that can help you recover financially and emotionally from identity theft. Of course the first step is always to call the police and often they will refer you to a counseling service that can be very beneficial.
Don’t just dismiss this and throw the business card in the trash. The stress that can build up may eventually become overwhelming so by talking to a counselor about the entire event and developing a plan of action for the future can really stabilize you.
Supportive friends and family are also very important to have around. It could take many months to sort out the financial areas of identity theft but much longer for the emotional scars to heal.
Identity theft is a growing concern for many people. Spotlighted often on the news and shows like Dateline, identity theft is a very scary subject and can cause the victim all kinds of emotional pain and financial trouble.
Identity theft can occur in numerous ways such as by someone using your credit cards,social security number, checks, drivers license and much more.
Luckily, there are many easy tips you can use to keep yourself more secure. By no means will they be completely effective but they can make you less likely to be a random victim.
Documents are the biggest problem for most people. From bank statements to medical bills, you get mail constantly that is full of your personal information.
You’d think in this computer-centric world, they could finally put a stop to all of these paper bills and documents and just send you everything electronically but that’s not going to happen yet.
Until it does, make sure you shred everything that has your personal information on it. This can be a daunting task to do by hand so an electric shredder is the best way to go.
The shredded paper is great for rodent bedding if you have children with small pets or want a pet.
In addition to documents, there are many things that should be common knowledge but can be overlooked. Never carry your checkbook, birth certificate, or social security card in your wallet or purse. Keep a close eye on your credit reports, as errors could be a potential sign of identity theft. Or better yet, consider signing up for credit monitoring with your credit card company or bank
Checks are absolutely horrible.
They not only have your personal information, they have your bank account number and routing number right there. Some people even put their social security number right on the check!!