You would never leave valuable possessions out where they can be stolen, you either keep an eye on them, or keep them under lock and key. If you are not taking similar precautions with your identity, then you are putting yourself at risk for identity theft.
In order for someone to commit identity theft, they first need to obtain some of your personal information. You can help prevent this by:
- Shredding documents and papers before you throw them away.
- Not carrying your social security card in your wallet.
- Being careful when you enter information online. Make sure that the website is legitimate and your wi-fi connection is secure.
- Be wary of emails or phone calls requesting personal information. They are likely scams, but if you believe that they may be legitimate, contact the company directly to find out.
- Don’t give out your social security number unless absolutely necessary.
- Using complex passwords online, and using a different one for every account.
You can be vigilant about protecting your information, but enterprising thieves are always coming up with new ways to access it, so identity theft monitoring can be your best ally in combating identity theft. When someone applies for financing in your name, it shows up on your credit report. Identity theft monitoring services watch for new accounts and other changes to your credit report, and alert you to them. If your identity is stolen, identity monitoring services can be the best way to find out about it before too much damage is done, and they can also help guide you through the complicated process of resolving the issue.
There are many identity monitoring services available, so be sure to read up on what you are actually getting before you choose one. You want to use identity monitoring that checks your credit report from all three credit bureaus, and that does so at least monthly. You should also be able to choose to receive your notifications through phone, email, or text.