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5 Steps to Protect yourself against Identity Theft

By Ruth Racey
Published: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Identity theft is when someone somehow manages to get their hands on your personal information and uses that personal information to pass themselves off as you, thus using your name and credit to *be* you, giving them access to your money and credit use. This will turn shut you off from it. For example, when you go to apply for a loan, you will be denied because according to the banks systems you already have a loan. Identity theft can leave you in a spiral for years and years, trying to prove to the agencies that you are the real you. So, knowing how horrible identity theft is, what can you to do to prevent it?

  • Shred all financial and personal documents
    Every bill, bank statement, loan statement, anything that contains your personal information, shred it. Shred it twice, horizontally and vertically. Leave no chance for someone to find it in the trash and tape it back together. There are even companies that specialize in picking up such sensitive paperwork and destroying it. You could just burn it on a stove or fireplace as well if you have no further use for it.
  • Don’t give out information on the telephone
    While some people that call you on the phone are from reputable businesses that don’t let their employees have paper and protect everything out once its written down, there are some fraudulent companies that will call you pretending to be legitimate and ‘fish’ for your information. They call hundreds and thousands of people everyday until they find someone willing to believe them and give out their personal information.
  • Protect your social security number
    Do not carry around your SSN in your wallet. Memorize your number and leave your card at home where it is safe. Sometimes you can be robbed, or lose your wallet, and you don’t want whoever gets it to steal your identity.
  • Don’t click or open suspicious emails
    If you see an email in your inbox and you have no idea who it is from it is probably a phishing scam. These scammers send out mass emails to people in the hopes at least one person will click inside and click a link they have provided. This link will probably infect your computer or ask you to give personal information such as logins or SSN’s. Don’t be fooled by this. Stay away from these emails and don’t even open them.

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