Unfortunately, identity theft happens every day. Here are some things you can and should be to help prevent your identity from being stolen:

1. It is very important that you check your credit reports on an annual basis. If an ID thief opens credit card and/or bank accounts or takes loans, it will show up on your report. You can order copies annually from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union). Check for incorrect information and accounts that aren’t yours and  report them immediately. You can also get identity theft protection to help prevent problems. Lifelock.com is a company that does this.

2. Your social security number is the most important information you have, and you must protect it! Don’t readily give it to anyone! If someone asks you for it, and you know they really don’t need it, refuse. Don’t readily put in on any applications forms unless it is really necessary. Always keep your Social Security card in a safe place at homenever in your wallet!

3.  Buy a shredder and always shred any papers that have an pertinent information on them (your Social Security number, address, credit card number, bank account number and birth date. Dumster divers go into trash cans looking for your personal information.

4. Don’t use a password that is easy for someone to guess. Your pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name, your date of birth, etc. Don’t put pertinent information on Facebook that will give someone an idea of what your password could be.

If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, call the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at 877-438-4338.

One Response to Stolen Identity