No one wants to have his or her identity stolen. Not only is it a major pain to replace all those lost credit cards, it is also a personal violation of the worst kind. Having your identity stolen and trying to prove that it was not you who had made those purchases or applied for a certain set of papers (such as a passport) is frightening and unnerving at best.
The best way to deal with credit card and identity theft is to avoid it all together.
1. Identity Theft Protection Services
One of the best ways to protect your identity is to protect yourself through an identity theft protection service. These services may cost you a monthly fee, but they are worth their weight in gold should the need arise to protect yourself. Millions of people every year have their identity stolen, and it is no picnic in any way, shape, or form.
For a monthly fee, these services provide monitoring of credit reports, credit cards, banking activity, and even social security information. They will monitor your accounts to see if any suspicious activity is present and immediately contact the appropriate parties as well as you in order to stop identity theft before it happens or gets out of control.
2. Be Computer Wary
So many computer scams look truly authentic; however, they are absolute scams. If you receive a pop-up of any kind, this should be your first indication that something is not right. Even if it has a professional logo that you recognize, do not trust anything that "pops up" on your computer.
Also, be very wary of websites that you visit, and make absolute certain that you have an up-to-date firewall and anti-spyware, and antivirus programs on your computer. In addition, make sure that you are using an updated and current version on your web browser to take advantage of the latest security features.
Watch out for emails that seem like they are from someone you know, but have an odd subject matter or none at all. Always ask a friend if they sent you something before you open it if it looks even a little bit suspicious.
3. Use a Paper Shredder
As outdated as this may seem, using a paper shredder can save you a costly mistake. Many identity thefts begin with the trash. Personal information such as name, telephone number, social security numbers, and bank account records, as well as credit card statements are all subject to identity theft.
Shredding those important documents is key to keeping your personal information just that – personal. Also, if you can, go paperless. Going paperless leaves little room for identity thieves to plow through your trash and piece together important data.
While there are many more ways to protect your identity, these are the top three to keep your records and your identity safe.