Identity theft is a common criminal act involving illegal acquisition of another person’s private information including their official name and social security number with the aim of committing a fraud. Identity thieves may use the stolen information to deceitfully make credit applications, access medical services or file taxes. These acts are not only damaging to one’s credit status, but they are also costly in terms of time and funds that will be used to restore a name and reputation. Besides looking at identity protection reviews, there are a number of helpful tips to prevent this crime.
Shredding of documents
Weekly mails received often have several items containing important information such as bank statements, visa card offers, license renewals or investment statements. Such data can be hacked, consequently increasing the likelihood of identity theft. It is advisable to invest in a reliable document shredder to ensure that all mail as well as discarded documents are shredded on a regular basis.
Safeguarding online information
Technological advancement has made it possible for most transactions and even shopping to be done online. All these passwords and account numbers can be targeted by identity thieves. Hence, it is important to always clear passwords and log-ins, especially when using public computers. Passwords should also be changed on a monthly basis. Online purchases should be paid for using credit cards, whose guarantees under the federal law are better than those of other online modes of payments. Prior to inputting personal data, one has to ensure that they are familiar with a website and its security controls.
Constant monitoring of credit reports
It is now possible to access a credit report copy free of charge from the reporting agencies annually. Adequate time should be allocated to checking all individual reports to look out for any unusual activity. All the known credit lines should be reported properly. Credit reports can be used for spotting any fraudulent activity and stopping identity theft.
Limiting of wallet contents
The greatest mistake made by most people is using their purse or wallet to carry sensitive information. The social security card should never be kept in a wallet. It is easy for such items to be misplaced or get stolen. Items that do not necessitate daily attention should not be carried. For instance, it is pointless to carry a checkbook if no checks are to be written.
Basically, if any fraudulent activity is detected, it is critical to give a notice to a financial institution that would freeze targeted accounts. Filing a complaint as well as investigation of other accounts may also be necessary, depending on the crime situation