Identify theft affects over 9 million Americans each year. As a 2016 victim, I’d like to share a few tips on how to protect your identity so that what happened to me does not happen to you.
1. Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service. Several companies offer services to help you in the case that you become victim to identity theft.
2. Keep personal documents in a safe. You can use your safe at home to protect items such as your social security card, birth certificate and passport.
3. Protect your purse or wallet at all times. The best purses are those that can be zipped or closed shut. Do not leave wallets or purses in the car, or if you must, do not leave them exposed or in an obvious place.
4. Examine your bank account statements monthly to ensure that your accounts have no unauthorized charges. If they do, contact your banking institution immediately.
5. Select passwords that are difficult for others to uncover. An impersonal combination of letters and numbers is the best.
6. Protect your computer with anti-spyware and anti-virus software. Make sure you keep them up to date.
7. Do not reveal personal information to unverified sources whether over the phone or the Internet. Feel free to request verifying information before giving anything up.
8. Shred personal documents before throwing them away. Dumpster diving is a common method of stealing personal information for the sake of identity fraud. Purchase a shredder for your home and make sure you destroy paperwork containing personal information before discarding. This includes mail, credit card statements and even receipts.
While identity theft cannot be entirely stopped, having identity theft protection endorsement on your homeowners or renters policy can help you recover if your identity is ever stolen. If you would like to know more, contact me at 304-379-2260 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.