Identity Theft – Protect Yourself

First things first—be responsible and act fast! Don’t just sit there with your head buried into your hands as if the world just ended. Protecting yourself from identity theft takes proactive effort. Also, don’t be under the impression that Identity Theft can’t happen to you. Believe me, anyone, I mean ANYONE, can become a victim of Identity Theft. Also, I would recommend a quick run through the movie “The Net”. The movie shows Sandra Bullock losing her identity, though the techniques shown aren’t really the ones employed by most hackers. Hey, what the heck. At least you get to see the consequences of this type of crime.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
1) Don’t give out your Social Security number unless it is absolutely necessary. Many companies collect more information than they really need. Make sure that it’s something they have to have and make sure they’ll protect your privacy.

When you get a mail from your bank asking you to visit a website link and submit your Debit/Credit card number, online banking password, etc, don’t just jump onto the website and start entering the info yet. Almost all banks won’t ask you for this information, as this info will already be in their systems. It takes just 5 minutes to call up the bank and ask them, whether they ‘really’ sent a mail asking for the info.

Banks always send you credit card offers and other mailers to your home address. In case you are not interested in those offers, don’t just dump them into your waste bin. It would be wise to shred these papers before you dump them for good. If you don’t do this, be ready for a huge credit card bill next month—there might be people who might just go through your waste bin, gather these ‘dumped’ papers and use these to get a credit card for them in your name!

2) Watch for your checkbook. Most of us have a habit of keeping a few check leaves signed in advance. Someone could just misuse these leaves, in case it gets into wrong hands.