Proactive Steps Deter Potential for Identity Theft

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How can I be proactive to guard against identity theft?

Proactive Steps Deter Potential for Identity Theft

With so much of our personal information already widely distributed in databases and storage files, it's impossible to gain complete control over whether or not we'll be victims of identity theft. What we can do to increase identity theft protection is be proactive by rethinking current vulnerabilities that we can control.

For example, increase the use of passwords. Using passwords online is common practice, but you can help to increase credit card security by placing passwords on credit card, bank, and phone accounts, too. When you do use a password, avoid using the traditional ones like your mother's maiden name, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your birth date.

Be conscious of where you keep your personal information stored in your home, especially if you use or employ contractors like a cleaning service, have roommates, or if anyone has access to your home when you're not there.

Ask questions about how your personal information is secured at work, at your doctor's and dentist's offices, and banking institution or credit union. Find out who has access to personal information and verify whether or not your information is shared with other companies. If it is, request that you be removed from the list.

Apply new meaning to the old saying, “one man's trash is another man's treasure.” Dumpster divers aren't always looking for discarded items that can be cleaned up and reused. Some of them are searching your trash for documents containing your personal information so they can help themselves to your identity. Make sure the trash you throw out doesn't result in someone trashing your credit history.

   

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