Whatever your line of work, knowing the ways to prevent identity theft is mandatory. Here are the essential steps you need to take.
Keep Your Personal Numbers Private
This refers to Social Security numbers, bank account numbers driver license numbers etc. SS numbers should not be included in job application letters. You must only include them when you’ve been hired. If you’re going in a building, show your ID, but not your SS number.
Do not give this information when in chat rooms. Do not give them out when you are dealing with company representatives or when being interviewed for a job.
Keep Your Mail Private
For snail mail, use a locked box. Never ever leave the mailbox unlocked. When sending email, double check the address. One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to make sure you are sending it to the right person.
Do not provide any personal info there unless it is absolutely necessary. You can use encryption software for extra security. Make sure that the CC email function is turned off.
Delete Documents with Personal Info
These include tax records, job related documents, utility bills etc. Credit card offers will also have private information. Shred these papers. If you think you’ll need it later, keep them in a locked container. Do not allow anyone else to access them. Don’t carry these papers with you.
Online Safety Reminders
When online, one of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to use anti-spyware software. Some hackers use this to obtain personal info. The anti-spyware can eliminate these problems. You should also get antivirus software.
Before you go online shopping, study their security measures. The best encryption technology is the 128 bit SSL type. Don’t shop in online sites that don’t utilize top notch security options.
Other Scams to Avoid
Don’t give personal information on the phone. Don’t give personal data unless you know exactly who you’re talking too. The same thing with text messages; don’t believe those offers or claim you won this or that prize. Don’t give out any personal information; just ignore them.
There are other ways to prevent identity theft. Don’t flaunt your ATM cards. Don’t respond to emails saying charity X needs some money to fund project X.
These email messages are scams; they’ll just ask for credit card and other private info. Delete email asking your help to transfer $50 million to a Swiss bank. Ignore email imploring you to invest in this or that stock.
Bottom line: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Always monitor your credit card and bank records. Report any unauthorized withdrawals or credit card expenses. If your children have bank accounts, check them regularly. Tell them to never divulge personal and financial info to strangers. Take the time to educate the family –and yourself- about keeping financial records private.
Finally, change your passwords regularly. Never use your SS numbers and bank accounts when making passwords. These are the best ways to prevent identity theft.