Simple Tips to Protect Against Identify Theft

We all know it can happen. But it's one of those things that we don't really think will happen to us. Identity theft. It doesn't really discriminate. Young and old, wealthy or not, identity theft can happen to you. But the good news is that there are some very basic steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to the different types of identity theft. Incorporate these simple actions into your routine to protect you from identity thieves.

1. Shred billing statements, receipts, documents or policies with any credit card or sensitive data on it. You can use a criss-cross shredder for added security, or contact your local animal shelter to see if they could use the shredded paper to line rabbit and other small-animal cages. Some people even mix in shredded paper in their kitty litter or use it as compost. No one will want your shredded paper after that!

2. Guard your Social Security Number. Never carry your social security card in your wallet! If you lose your wallet, or the card falls out, this is like just giving an identity thief everything you've got. Keep your social security card in a safe place at home. Don't put your number on your checks and if asked for it, on applications and forms, find out if it's mandatory (many times it's not, as long as you can provide an alternate form of identification).

3. Don't respond to suspicious emails. Don't even click on emails from banks, PayPal and other organizations and enter in any secure information. This is called phishing. These emails and sites look so real, but remember that reputable companies will never email you with an issue. The best thing to do if you get an email from an account asking you to take some kind of action, is to close the browser window all together, open a new one and go to the site directly to log in to your account. Call the company dhrectly if you have any suspicions about anything.

4. Monitor your credit cards and checking and savings accounts regularly by reviewing your statements, going online, or calling your bank's automated system.

5. Watch your mailbox. It's sad, but true. Many identify thieves steal right out of your mailbox, so always pick up your mail as soon as possible and drop off any sensitive mail at the post office (don't leave things like bill payments in the mailbox with the flag up overnight).

6. Choose complicated passwords for each of your online accounts. Hackers can even get into your Facebook page, acting as you, and ask your friends to send "you" money. It's a pain, but protect yourself by having different and difficult passwords for all of your accounts - email, banks, credit cards, shopping sites, etc.

7. Educate yourself by getting the identity theft facts you need to protect yourself. Read up on ID theft so that you can't be caught off guard.

Get ID theft protection with these seven steps and visit Equifax for credit, insurance, tax, retirement, real estate and family financial information at

1 comment:

  1. “Don't respond to suspicious emails.”--- If the emails you receive has nothing to do with your life in the first place, it’s better that you disregard them and send them straight to the trash. Don’t let yourself be influenced with those persuasive messages you receive. Usually, these are just their way to bait you to their scheme.

    Annie Valdez