Credit card and account safety are some of the biggest concerns that are on the minds of those that fear that they may be victims of identity theft. In order to properly protect yourself and your information, it's important to be thorough in the methods that you use, as well as to keep up with the ever changing nature of identity theft. As this is a constantly evolving type of crime, the ways that you can keep yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft are also constantly changing, so you'll need to be aware of what's going on both with your accounts as well as with the rest of the world in order to be able to protect yourself most effectively. Listed below are some of the most useful steps and tips that people have used in order to protect their credit, decreasing the likelihood that they will be victims of identity theft.
1. Use trusted websites when banking and shopping. This can decrease the likelihood that thieves will even be able to access your information. Many websites have increased their security when they require people to enter in banking and credit information - this is meant to show that they are concerned about the well-being of their customers as well as to protect themselves. Taking a few extra seconds to ensure that the sites you're using are safe can save you quite a bit of trouble in the long run. In addition, don't pay for things or provide account information unless you can be sure that the "team" requesting it is legitimate - don't click on email links or respond to phone calls requesting that you pay in order to receive something.
2. Check statements regularly. While services monitoring credit can help you with this, it's a good idea to be vigilant about the status of your accounts on a regular basis. This means checking things out more than once a month, keeping track of statements and transactions, even regularly using phone or computer applications to check on the balances of your bank accounts to ensure that they are where they should be. Many of the people that have become victims of different types of identity theft could have caught on sooner if they had simply been a little more vigilant.
3. Understand the limitations of preventing identity theft. Although the services that have been created and are offered by companies like http://www.identityguard.com/ are great at helping people catch thieves trying to steal from them, they cannot do everything. They do not prevent thieves from accessing the information in the first place, and they cannot shut them out of the accounts. They are simply meant to provide an indication that thieves may be present, giving you the chance to take any further and necessary steps that may include stopping payments, disputing charges or even closing accounts. In this same vein, it's important to understand that since this is the job of thieves, they are very good at what they do - and they cannot always be caught. Don't beat yourself up because you've become victim, use it as a learning experience and simply move forward.