Unfortunately, more than half a million of people become victims of identity theft every year.
In the age of computers, cell phones, ATMs, etc. we do most of the things on our computer: our banking, chatting, skyping, paying bills, even cyber relationships with our friends and loved ones.
We share a lot of information with various online sources that we don’t know that much about.
Do you ever wonder if you have done everything possible for protecting your identity and safeguarding your good name?
Whether you are shopping online or checking your bank statement in a coffee shop using your laptop, keep in mind that prevention is the best protection, and you can easily protect your identity by following these 5 important steps:
1. Monitor Your Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
Take advantage of online banking and monitor your financial accounts every day or two.
Or, if not possible, at least once a week for suspicious activity.
This will give you a chance to catch a thief before it’s too late.
2. Opt-Out of Credit Card and Insurance Offers
There is a very useful website called www.Optoutprescreen.com.
It is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website that accepts and processes requests from consumers to opt-in or opt-out of credit card and insurance companies offers.
You can opt-out to receive offers for five years or permanently.
Just by opting-out permanently yourself and all your family members you can get your junk mail reduced by more than 60%.
This way you can save the trees and stop waisting your valuable time going through all that junk mail.
Do every attempt to remove your name from any junk mailings, including pre-approved credit card offers for protecting your identity.
By signing up for e-statements and e-billing, you will cut down on the risk of mail-related identity theft.
If you go out of town, have a trusted family member pick it up for you or have the mail held at the post office until you come back.
If you let the mail pile up, it can get easily stolen.
4. Protect Your Computer
One of the best ways to protect your identity is getting the most updated version of anti-spyware and anti-virus protection on your computer.
This will prevent hackers from installing malicious software to capture your personal information and transmitting it to someone else.
5. Protect Your Pin Number
Try to use cash or a credit card whenever is possible.
Avoid entering your pin number in stores, but if you have to do so, cover the keypad with your hand.
Run all your transactions as a credit rather than debit.
This kind of transaction does not require your pin number.
Bottom line: if your personal finance is important to you, follow these 5 simple, but important steps, and whatever you do, remember to never pay someone to protect your identity.
No one can guard your personal information better than you do.
What do you do to protect yourself from identity theft? Please share your tips with us!