Although it's entirely possible that you will go your entire life without becoming an identity theft victim, more often than not, the thieves will find their way into the information that you've worked so hard to protect. This can be extremely disheartening, especially when finances are the thing that is most compromised, but luckily for those that are concerned, there are ways to protect yourself from identity theft - and not all of these methods involve using an outside program or service.
- Keep your information to yourself. Yes, it's tempting to give out your passwords to friends and loved ones so that you can show them photos or let them take out money from an ATM, but this sharing of information can quickly lead to more people than you've authorized having their hands on your private information. Although you may only tell one or two people, there's no telling how many others they will pass that information along to - or even if they will leave it out in the open unintentionally.
- Be sparing with what you post online. It can be extremely nice to share events in your life with others through pictures or shared information, but even an innocent email or quick snap of something can lead to problems down the road. Pictures can tell people where you are or what you're doing - providing a clue as to what potential passwords may be, pet names, addresses - even what kind of vehicle you're driving. Emails can be intercepted and accounts can be hacked; many people receive bank statements, order confirmations and even account updates through emails... all it takes is one click for an email intruder, and they could have access to this type of information.
- Change your passwords often. Annoying? Yes. Helpful? Extremely. Even changing them on a set basis - every three months, every Spring, etc. - can be helpful, because it can catch thieves off guard. Many cases of identity theft occur immediately after thieves access specific information, others wait until they feel the time is right (tax season, for example) - cut them off if you have the ability! It may take some time to get used to the changes, but there are identity theft protection methods available that can store passwords, making it possible to keep track of them, even with all of the changes.