Identity theft has been on the rise in recent years. Even the IRS isn’t immune to this type of crime. Here are some ways to protect your identity:
Shred Your Documents
Invest in a good shredder. Shred your old documents, bills, and junk mail. Pay special attention to anything that has your account number. This includes bank statements and credit card statements. Credit card offers that you receive in the mail can be a means for a thief to steal your identity. You want to keep this temptation out of a thief’s hands. Just tearing them up isn’t enough. Consider going paperless for statements and bills. This will reduce the risk of someone stealing these documents.
Safeguard Your Accounts
If you use online banking, make sure to use strong passwords. You don’t want someone to be able to guess your password. Change your passwords every once in a while. Consider storing your passwords in your safe. This way if someone breaks into your home they won’t be able to find your passwords. Pay attention to the activity on your account. Check your credit card statement every month to ensure that there aren’t any fraudulent purchases. Get your credit report at least once a year. You don’t want any surprises to crop up.
Use Legitimate Online Shopping Sites
Only use reputable sites online to make any purchases. Make sure that you’re using a secured checkout. Another thing that can protect you is to only use a credit card for your purchases. It is much easier to dispute these charges then to get money put back into your bank account. Don’t give away your personal information online. If you’re asked a series of odd questions when creating an account, find a different vendor. If a site looks suspicious, don’t shop there. Use your common sense when it comes to shopping online.
Utilize a Safe
Store important documents and your social security card in a safe. Select a safe, such as those from Southern California Security Center, that would be difficult for a thief to remove from your home. Some are large and heavy, and others can be mounted to the wall. Make sure to keep it locked. The point is to protect these documents so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Once someone has your personal information, they can open accounts in your name. This can result in you being responsible for the debt that is accrued.
It can take years to recover your identity once it’s stolen. Use precaution when dealing with your personal information.