Identity theft is serious.
If someone steals your identity, they can take money out of your bank account; open up new charge accounts or make charges on one of your current ones; file a tax return in your name and claim your refund and create a bunch of other problems for you.
29 Steps to Preventing ID Theft
1. Regularly check each of your three credit reports.
2. Regularly go through all your financial statements.
3. Use good passwords and don’t reuse them at too many different websites.
4. Read all your mail that deals with finances or money.
5. Keep your important papers in a safe place.
6. Be careful what you do and where you go on the Internet.
7. Don’t carry your social security card around with you.
8. Don’t carry unnecessary credit cards or store charge cards around with you either.
9. Don’t tell people your social security number if they don’t really need to know it.
10. Stay current on your credit cards by activating them when they arrive.
11. Buy a paper shredder and use it on all financial documents before you throw them out.
12. Keep your debit card PIN a secret. Don’t write it down on your debit card.
13. Put temporary freezes on your credit report so no one can open an account in your name.
14. Keep your contact details at all financial institutions up to date.
15. Have a secure email account and don’t let many people know what it is.
16. Make sure you have virus and malware software installed on your computer.
17. Stay clear of using public Wi-Fi hotspots when you are working on sensitive internet activities.
18. Protect your computers from being stolen. There is a lot of important information on them.
19. Be careful when using public computers, only use them for recreational surfing.
20. Keep your smartphone safe from being stolen and keep all software updated.
21. Check your reported earnings at the Social Security Administration about once each year.
22. Be a little wary when you receive a phone call from a financial institution that you weren’t expecting.
23. Be careful when clicking on links in emails, even if that email seems to be from a friend of yours.
24. Opt out of receiving those pre-screened credit card offers that come regularly in the mail.
25. Be careful about what you say on social media. Don’t share too many details that someone could use against you.
26. Don’t have your new checks mailed to your home if you can help it.
27. Make sure you place your outgoing mail in a safe location.
28. Don’t give out a lot of details to a marketing research company over the phone.
29. Be cautious when recycling electronics such as a computer or smartphone.
Use common sense and be careful.
We go into more detail on these and other tips at our ID prevention page at IdentityTheftHelp.com/Prevention