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8 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

22 February 2011 by CreditCardsCo™

The different ways to prevent identity theft is all about security. It's about keeping your personal information to yourself as much as possible. It's also about knowing who to trust when you need to give such sensitive information to other people.

Perpetrators of identity theft can be found anywhere: inside and outside your home, on and off the internet, and everywhere else. That's why the 8 ways to prevent identity theft should always be kept in mind:

1. Shred and Destroy

One of the best ways to prevent identity theft happens to be the easiest, and that's keeping a paper shredding around. Any kind of document that you intend to throw into the garbage bin should be shredded or otherwise destroyed first. Otherwise, these can easily be scavenged by identity thieves who can then take advantage of the information on those documents.

Don't forget to shred those pre-approved applications that you get in the mail. Do this for all types of obsolete mail for that matter. You'd be surprised with how much an identity thief can get away with by just looking at your junk mail. Just keep in mind that between the ways to prevent identity theft, the rule is that if you plan to get rid of it, shred it.

2. Careful With Online Correspondence

Make sure that you trust the recipient of your email, should it be necessary for you to get send or attach sensitive materials to them. While most email servers feature security measures that protect your email, one of the best ways to prevent identity theft online is to always determine the security of the transaction yourself. Better yet, if there are other, more secure ways for you to send your information, opt for that instead.

3. Give Information Selectively

Whether you're transacting with a bank or a government office, always keep the audience of your personal information to a minimum. It's among the few ways to prevent identity theft that people often take for granted. Never give your credit card information, for instance, to anyone than the person tasked by the establishment to collect it from you. The more people there are who know of your personal information, the more likely it would fall into the wrong hands.

4. Protect Your Computer

This would call for those, passwords, encryptions, anti-viruses, firewalls — the works. Your computer is the largest source of information and one of the ways to prevent identity theft is to keep them secure.

5. Keep Yourself Updated

Identity thieves are becoming more and more creative each day. Even they are figuring out ways to prevent identity theft so they could come up with ways to go around them. There are lots of feeds and forums on the internet that you can subscribe to so you can always be a step ahead.

6. Lock Up Precious Papers

If you're not shredding them, keep those important documents under hard security. You won't always need a safe, but the ways to prevent identity theft always advise the use of a lock. Lock your drawers, your brief case, and your office. Lock everything that needs to be locked up. You have to be the only one who can access those files.

7. Keep Passwords and PINs to Yourself

Keeping your password or PIN in your wallet is not one of the better ways to prevent identity theft. It's always better to memorize them rather than putting them in a piece of paper that could be lost and found into the wrong hands. If you must put it on paper (which you really shouldn't) then keep the notes somewhere they won't get lost easily.

8. Report Lost Items ASAP

If you've lost your credit card or some pertinent documents, call up the proper authorities (i.e., the bank) and tell them about it immediately so they can take the proper measures. Should the worst happen, making sure the thief never gets to your credit card or financial accounts is one of the last ways to prevent identity theft.

Once an identity thief gets hold of your information, there's no telling what they can get away with. So don't give them a chance and employ all ways to prevent identity theft. Be vigilant, be careful, and always keep yourself informed.

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