With the birth of internet commerce, identity theft has been on the rise. While electronic business has made transactions more convenient for consumers, it has also paved the way for those with fraudulent intentions to gain access to your personal information and commit crimes against you.
Fortunately there are steps you can take to shield yourself from identity theft and protect your financial and personal information from those with unscrupulous intentions. With a little extra care, you can greatly minimize the risk of becoming a victim.
Keep an Eye on your Mail
One way to shield yourself from identity theft is to guard your mailbox from potential thieves. Always try to pick up your mail from your box as soon as possible after it is delivered. If you are going to be out of town for a few days, you can place a stop on your mail so that it does not get delivered while you are gone. Never place bills or other outgoing mail in your home mailbox to be picked up.
Protect your Documents
Documents like your driver’s license, social security card, credit cards and bank account information should especially be shielded from identity theft. Never leave these documents where they can easily be grabbed by a stranger, and always tear up or shred any papers containing this type of information before throwing them away.
Be defensive about personal information over the phone or via email correspondence. Always ask if it is absolutely necessary before giving sensitive information to businesses and companies. Always collect your receipts from ATM’s and gas stations so that the person in line after you does not have access to your accounts. Finally, if you pay with a credit card, always keep an eye on your card when it is out of your possession. This can shield you from identity theft involving credit card skimming.
Monitor your Credit Report
You are allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report every year. This is a service that is worth taking advantage of if you are really interested in shielding yourself from identity theft. A credit report can let you know if any unauthorized inquiries have been made to your credit history. If a thief is trying to obtain a fraudulent credit card in your name, this may be the first place that you will see evidence of the attempted crime.
No one likes to be the victim of a crime. Fortunately, there are many simple steps that you can follow to shield yourself from identity theft and protect yourself from becoming a victim.