Identity theft is a growing problem that can wreak havoc on your personal credit. When someone else uses your identity, they can take out loans, credit cards, and open various other accounts in your name, all without your knowledge. This can not only cause major damage to your credit score, but will also bring a lot of aggravation and suffering to your personal life.
- Be careful when using public/unsecured computers – always log out of any accounts, and be sure to log off the computer
- Limit what you put out into the world – Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites offer thieves just the right amount of information they need to steal your identity. Avoid posting personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, where you bank, etc.
- Have important mail sent to a secure address
- Monitor your account statements and credit reports – The best way to know of suspicious account activity is to check your accounts on a weekly basis, and look for anything you did not authorize. Also, monitoring your credit reports will bring to light any accounts that are in your name that you may not know even existed.
- Ask questions – why are people asking you for personal information? Never be afraid to ask why people are asking to know about you — you need to protect yourself!
- Shred personal documents – Identity thieves have no problem digging through trash to find access to your personal information. Try to shred or otherwise destroy any documents with personal information (addresses, account numbers, passwords, etc) before disposing of them.
- Protect your devices – whether it’s a PC, tablet, pad, or cell phone, use a protective measure to ensure strangers cannot access its contents.