How can I prevent Identity Theft?
How can I prevent Identity Theft: Relax and follow these steps
Identity theft is a serious problem, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can protect your personal information and keep your identity safe.
Be careful about what you share online.
Don’t post your Social Security number, birthday, or other personal information on social media or other public websites. Only share your personal information with trusted websites and businesses.
Use strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Strong passwords are at least 12 characters long and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code from your phone in addition to your password when logging in.
Monitor your credit reports regularly
Check your credit reports for any unauthorized activity. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year at annualcreditreport.com.
Shred any documents that contain your personal information before disposing of them
Don’t just throw away documents that contain your personal information. Shred them first to protect your privacy.
Be careful about what emails you open and what attachments you download
Phishing emails and attachments are designed to trick you into revealing your personal information or clicking on malicious links. Be suspicious of any email or attachment that comes from someone you don’t know or that asks for your personal information.
Don’t fall for scams
There are all sorts of scams out there designed to steal your personal information. Be careful about who you give your personal information to and don’t fall for any promises that sound too good to be true.
Get identity theft insurance.
Identity theft insurance can help you to recover from the financial losses associated with identity theft.
Get a credit freeze. A credit freeze prevents new accounts from being opened in your name without your permission. You can place a credit freeze with each of the three major credit bureaus.
Following these tips can help you to protect your identity from theft. But remember, even the most careful people can become victims of identity theft. If you think your identity has been stolen, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov or 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338). The FTC can help you to create a recovery plan and provide you with support.
And now, for some not-so-serious tips:
- Get a guard dog. A big, mean-looking dog can deter identity thieves from even trying to steal your identity.
- Carry a fake wallet. If you’re lost or robbed, give the thief your fake wallet instead of your real one.
- Get a new identity. If your identity is stolen, just get a new one! It’s not that hard.