Identity Theft: Preventing Identity Theft

Posted by on February-2-2009 under Save Money

This is the fourth article in my series of articles on Identity Theft. In the previous articles, I explained what exactly the Identity Theft is (read here), and what are various methods in which your identity can be stolen (read here). In this article, I will try to explain what can be done for Preventing Identity Theft

If you haven’t read my previous article regarding what are various methods for Identity Theft, I strongly suggest you do that. That will help you better understand the significance of the methods that are explained in this article. Click here to read that article..

There are some very simple steps that you can regularly follow to prevent Identity Theft:

1. Shred: Always shred your bank statements and other financial documents before discarding them. This will prevent the thieves from getting your information by digging in the trash.

2. Don’t become a victim of Phishing: Do not click on links sent in unsolicited emails. The safest way is to manually type the web address. Apart from this, use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your computer. Never share your online username or password with anyone. Do not use easy to remember passwords, such as your date of birth.

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3. Protect your information while Shopping Online: While shopping online, you have to share a lot of personal information with websites, such as your name, Address, Credit card information. It might be possible that the website is not trustworthy, and can abuse your information. To avoid that, you make payment using other methods, such as Papal and Google Checkout. If you use these, then you do not have to share your credit card information with the websites. ( I have also written an article regarding Tips to Save Money while Shopping Online. You can read that here..)

4. Place Fraud Alert: Frankly speaking, this is the most effective method to prevent Identity Theft. You can ask the nationwide credit reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your file. This alert is completely free. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; and a call to one company is sufficient to place alerts with all three companies:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

The only drawback of this method is that such an alert is valid only for 90 days, and has to be renewed again after that. But it is very easy to place this alert, and it is completely free, so I don’t feel any hassle in renewing the alert.

5. Protect Personal Information: Do not share your personal information with anyone. Do not give it out on phone or email, unless you know whom you are dealing with. Do not provide such information on the websites that you do not trust. Do not give your Social Security Number unless absolutely necessary. Also, do not carry your social security card in your wallet, or do not write it on a paper in wallet.

All the above techniques are simple, and yet very effective, and can help in deterring identity thieves. However, you just need to ensure that all these are followed on a continuous basis, as there are really tons of methods in which Identity Thieves can get to you. Try to make these as a part of your lifestyle, that will make you much safer.

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The ugly part of Identity Theft is that despite following all these measures, it might still be possible that you become a victim of Identity Theft. So, it is necessary to monitor certain things to quickly identify if you have become a victim of Identity Theft. In my next article, I explain how to find whether you have become a victim of Identity Theft (read here), and in the last article, I will explain what do to if your Identity is stolen (read here).

If you have some thoughts to share with others, or know someone who has been impacted by Identity Theft, please click here to leave comments

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3 Responses so far.

  1. […] is Awareness. Unless we are aware what Identity Theft is, we cannot really take effective steps to prevent Identity Theft. So, I have explained in this article that what exactly is Identity Theft, and what can be the […]

  2. […] Identity Theft: Preventing Identity Theft […]

  3. […] be stolen. This knowledge is really essential before we try to understand what we can do to prevent identity theft (that I explain in the next […]

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