Simple Ways to Protect yourself from Identity Theft

Often times it is not the adults or the financial decision makers of the household who fall prey to identity theft, it is people around them who make the mistakes the entire family has to pay for. Teenagers can be careless with credit cards and social security numbers, so it is important to discuss with them the responsibility of carrying a credit or debit card before handing them a piece of plastic.

If you love entertaining and have parties all the time, chances are your guests and their dates may be in different parts of your house and it is physically impossible to keep tabs on everyone. A simple yet often overlooked step to identity theft protection is to keep all your jewelry and important documents under lock and key. That could mean a locked master bedroom (or at least a locked closet) and a locked study.

If you have hired help that comes to clean your home or look after your kids, do not be naive and leave your check book around. Do not leave passwords or usernames near the computer for everyone to see. These may sound like very obvious ways to protect yourself from identity theft, but they are also the most overlooked.

Create Unique Passwords

Do not have the same password for all your online work and keep changing them. This may seem tedious, but it has its rewards. It may be impractical to have a unique password for each site since the average internet user has so many accounts from sharing photos, to paying bills to checking email and watching auctions. However, in order to protect yourself from identity theft, it is advisable to have at least three different passwords, each a mixture of letters and numbers and changing them once every year, say on or around your birthday or the New Year.

A simple identity theft protection idea is to invest in a fire-safe, box which has your passports, social security cards, deed to your house, insurance papers and the like.

At the back of your credit card, on the strip where you are supposed to sign, write ‘See ID’. Whenever you hand it to the cashier, he or she should ask you for some photo identification that should match the name on your credit card. If the person at the register does take the time to check your ID, remember to thank him or her.

It is becoming increasingly difficult with most stores asking the customer to swipe the card on a pin pad without even bothering to see the card, but it is possible. Another tip in identity theft protection is to refuse to sign ‘in the box’ when you swipe your charge. You have the right to ask for a paper copy of the receipt so that your signature is not electronically captured.

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