Identity theft has been running rampant for several years now and shows no signs of slowing down.
The truth of the matter is that no one is 100% safe, which means you must take every preventative safety precaution you can to minimize the risks.
Criminals are using more and more sophisticated methods to steal our information.
If you haven’t taken this threat seriously, now is the time to implement a prevention plan.
To get yourself motivated to take action, go and watch a few of the video testimonials given by identity theft victims.
After seeing how much their lives were turned inside-out and upside-down, you’ll be sprinting to find solutions that can help protect your critical personal information.
Before I share the 9 Ways To Prevent Identity Theft, let me ask you a question…
Do you have any idea about what identity theft is?
What is Identity Theft (IDT)?
It is the stealing of your personal data like your Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, Credit Card Numbers, Bank Account Numbers, and believe it or not, even your Mother’s Maiden Name.
Sometimes it can take years of going back and forth with debt collectors, creditors, and attorneys to clean up the damage caused by identity theft, which means that prevention is the best action you can take.
Let’s get into a few ways that you can minimize the chances of being a victim of identity theft in the three areas where you’re the most vulnerable…
1)) Check your financials such as your Bank and Credit Card Accounts, and Credit Reports.
I highly recommend that you check your bank accounts on a daily basis for accuracy, even though most banks have theft protection in place.
However, it’s better to be proactive, because the sooner you spot any abnormalities, you faster you can notify your bank.
You should obtain a copy of your Credit Reports at least every few months to confirm whether or not there are any items that don’t belong on them such as new lines of credit, vehicles, or even a home.
Do you know that some identity theft victims go for several years before discovering that someone has made several purchases under their name?
This happens all the time, and it’s a financial nightmare for millions of people around the world.
2)) If you live in a rural area where you have your own individual mailbox and you need to send mail, drop it off at the nearest post office or post office collection box.
Identity thieves routinely steal mail right from unsecured mailboxes, because they are low-hanging fruit.
Also, never let your delivered mail sit in the mailbox if possible.
There has been an increase in the number of secured mailboxes being broken into.
If you have to go out of town, contact your post office and request to have them hold your mail until you get back.
3)) Make it a habit to destroy all your bill receipts, insurance applications, credit card applications, doctor’s prescriptions, and other important correspondence that you get from your mailbox.
Tip: Invest in a high-quality shredder so that you can quickly destroy documents that thieves use to steal your identity.
Another way to eliminate or reduce your paper trail is to contact your creditors and utility companies and request “Paperless Billing.”
The less mail you receive, the less risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.
4)) If a place of business requires personal forms of identification to make verifications, if possible, don’t provide all of the information that would make it easy for a thief to steal your identity, such as your Social Security, Driver’s License, and Credit Card numbers.
Unless you can 100% confirm they’re a trusted establishment.
Instead, ask if you can use other forms of identifiers to confirm who you are or limit the personal data you provide.
Otherwise, providing your Social Security, Driver’s License, and Credit Card numbers to an untrusted source is like handing over your entire life to a stranger.
Do your research before providing your most precious personal data.
You can check the Better Business Bureau’s website and read online consumer reviews to do some research.
5)) Inquire about data safety guidelines in your office or at any business, physician’s clinic, or other establishments that ask for your personal identification data.
Ask them what measures they have in place to protect your personal data and whether or not it’s sold to third parties.
Most legitimate businesses should be able to provide that documentation upon request.
On the Internet
Always research the companies you plan on providing your personal data to first before handing over the most important numbers related to your life.
If you discover a lot of negative feedback, you want to avoid dealing with that establishment.
The great thing about the Internet is that it provides you the power to quickly find reputable and ethical businesses with which you can transact.
7)) You could use a Pre-Paid Credit Card by moving a limited number of your financial obligations to it.
You could also utilize it to purchase goods online rather than using your main credit cards.
This would limit the amount of financial damage done by cyber thieves if they happen to steal your pre-paid credit card number.
8)) Avoid giving your personal data over the phone, via email, text message, or online unless the website is reputable and you’ve done your due diligence on it.
Remember, highly advanced criminals have ways of hacking networks and can also listen in on conversations.
9)) Beware of Robocalls and Phone Solicitations where someone is offering promotions.
Most of the time, these types of calls are designed to catch you off guard so that you’ll provide your personal data.
To be on the safe side, always be on the defense when it comes to those types of solicitations.
Unfortunately, elderly folks are usually taken advantage of the most.
If you have loved ones that are elderly, instruct them not to provide any of their personal data under any circumstances unless you’re present so that you can protect them from theft.
Thieves also use scare tactics…
For example; a thief may claim to be an attorney and say that you have an outstanding debt to pay and will be put in jail if a settlement isn’t made.
Believe it or not, thousands of people fall for this trick and then find themselves scammed for huge chunks of cash, which they’ll most likely never see again.
Tip: Block these calls using the feature on your Landline and Mobile Phone.
Of course, solicitors continue to change the numbers like a spammer changes the email address so they can continue calling.
At least you can reduce the number of times they call using the Block Feature.
Also, make sure to put your number on the “Do Not Call List” so that businesses aren’t able to solicit your phone number.
10)) Use RFID Blocking Technology to protect your credit cards from those thieves that use devices to steal your information without having to physically touch them.
Isn’t it scary to know that your credit card info can be stolen without any physical contact?
You bet it is!
You can purchase Wallets, Purses, Money Clips, and Bags with RFID-blocking technology built right into them.
A number of these items are very stylish.
As a matter of fact, some of the top designers are implementing RFID technology in their purses and wallets.
Don’t hesitate to purchase items with RFID built-in, so that you can add another layer of identity theft protection to your overall strategy.
Identity theft is out of control and you must do everything you can to protect your personal data.
Criminals are becoming more sophisticated with each passing day.
There’s a constant battle going on between Cyber Protection Firms and Cyber Criminals.
There are several services that you can use to protect your identity both online and off.
Some of these services provide an insurance component that will guarantee up to a certain amount in the event that you become a victim of IDT.
Believe it or not, there are law firms that have partnered with some of those IDT Protection providers.
Anti-virus software developers are teaming up with those IDT services to provide you with a more comprehensive protection strategy to help keep your data safe.
Keep in mind that the IDT Service Providers are only as good as the weakest link, which most of the time ends up being the individual.
You have to do your part by applying the 10 Ways To Prevent Identity Theft at the very minimum and let those IDT Service Providers do the rest.
Because if you slip up and do things like not shred your mail, enter your data into untrustworthy websites, not check your physical mailbox, not protect your credit cards with RFID technology, and so on…
Then you’d be leaving a big gaping hole for thieves to slide right in to steal your critical personal data and turn your financial life upside down.
Be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect your identity!