3 Ways to Help Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is not a new phenomenon that has recently plagued our society. It has always been there as you may have seen in movies depicting several decades ago like Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo Di Caprio who forges identities and checks to swindle money by taking on other people’s identities.

The method of identity theft has changed however, and thugs have gotten smarter too. Here are a few simple tips on how you can hopefully prevent identity theft.

Shred Everything

In order to prevent identity theft, shred all your bills and financial correspondence before you throw them away or recycle them. Just tossing mail in the trash can or tearing them once in half is no longer enough. Thieves can put two and two together- literally- so one buzz through the shredder won’t take up too much of your time, but can save you a lot of trouble and money down the road. Instead of piling all your important papers to shred in one place, just keep a shredder next to your recycle bin. That way it will be less of a chore

Guard your Social Security Number with your Life

Of course there are places like hospitals and the Department of Motor Vehicles where your social security number is imperative. However, if you are asked for it at the gym or the bookstore, in order to prevent identity theft - ask why. At times, it just is an assumed part of filling any form, but if not legally necessary, avoid shelling out this information.

Although policies vary from company to company, some cell phone providers and libraries can make do with other documentation if you do not want to give your social security number.

Some websites ask you to enter your SSN as a security question. Most of the time, you can choose another option like your mothers maiden name or the city in which you were born. These are much safer alternatives for protection from identity theft.

Keep an Eye on your Valuables – and Valuable Information

If you are a frequent traveler and conduct a lot of transactions like setting up bill payments on your laptop, consider buying a privacy filter. It is a 3M product that blocks the view for anyone sitting on your left or right to view the screen you are working – or enjoying. You may not need to employ steps of identity theft prevention from every fellow passenger, but such a filter can also keep away people who just like to be nosey.

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