Identity theft has always been an issue, but lately it has become somewhat of an epidemic. There is actually a person whose sole job is to teach people how to keep their identities safe, and he has had his identity stolen twice, according to Fox News Houston. So how does one keep his/her identity safe when someone who is an expert at it cannot? There is no sure fire way, but there are several ways to make it harder on thieves to acquire the information necessary to start using one’s credit against them.
Keep it Safe
First and foremost, keep all legal and personal identifying documents under lock and key. There are cheap safes sold at mass retail stores everywhere. Identity theft generally occurs when documents are left out in the open for others to get to. The thieves have no reason to break into a home because they can get all of the items they want with the swipe of a fraudulent credit card.
Bank or Prank
The second thing is to stop giving out social security numbers over the telephone. Anyone can call and pretend to be from the financial institution that a person banks at. By stating a couple common facts about the person the caller can appear to be a legitimate banker. The safest option is to thank the caller and go to the bank to discuss the issue in person.
Score or No Score
Many financial institutions and credit card companies now offer quarterly or monthly credit checks that do not show negative marks on a credit report for checking them. Sign up for those credit checks. Keep an eye out for any signs of activity that seems questionable. The easiest way to stop the thief from ruining the credit score is to see when the thief thinks that he/she is scoring loot.
Password or Easy Pass
Passwords are supposed to hard for anyone else to figure out. Using a child’s name, pet’s name, anniversary date or any special person, place or thing that is common knowledge is never a good idea. The best passwords and pin numbers are randomly mixed numbers and letters. The numbers and/or letters should have no significant meaning to the pass-code holder, this way a thief can have no way of guessing what the pass-code is by knowing what the victim holds near and dear.
Accounted For or Accountable
Knowing all account numbers is an essential part of keeping one’s identity safe. Keep all credit cards, bank, lease and other account numbers written down on a slip of paper that is locked away in the safe. If a wallet or purse is lost or stolen it will be much easier and safer to stop activity on accounts with account numbers than trying to remember what items were in the wallet or purse to begin with.
While identity theft is a very common problem, there are ways to deter thieves from even bothering trying to go through the hassle of getting enough personal information to use. Keeping personal information personal is the key to keeping that credit score safe.