Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to Protect Your Identity from Theft

Knowing how to protect yourself from identity theft can save you time, money and avoid a huge hassle. Identity thieves can steal your information right out of your own garbage can or over the internet. Everyone needs to be aware of identity theft and do at least the minimum amount to protect themselves.

CUT UP INFORMATION - Completely destroy private information before you put it in the trash can. It is best if you can put it through the shredder or burn it in your fireplace or burn barrel. Review everything that you wish to throw out and make sure that you completely destroy it if it has your social security number, credit card numbers, mortgage account numbers or other information that should not be given out. You can keep all paperwork that has identifying information on it in a separate trash can, so that when you have time you can shred it or burn it all at one time. Once your trash can goes to the curb it becomes part of the public domain. Anyone can legally take things out of your trash.

INTERNET - Use one credit card for all of your online purchases. Using only one credit card can limit your exposure to identity theft. Your credit card company may also have a credit card number for you to use on the internet that is not your normal credit card number.

Https - Make sure that the website you are entering personal information into has the proper safety features. One easily detectable clue is the http in front of the website name. It should end in s for secure if you are on the page for entering personal information. Always look for https.

CONTACT CREDIT CARD COMPANIES - Contact your credit card companies to find out what new and innovative identity theft protection they offer. Credit card companies are constantly creating new ways to protect their customers and themselves.

Identity theft has been going on for quite some time and the thieves are becoming smarter. Watch the clerk run your credit card when you are using it at a store or convenience mart. If it appears that they ran it twice, through two different machines, they may be stealing credit card numbers. Ask them why they ran it through two different machines. If there is not a reasonable explanation, call the police.

Protect your identity from theft and save yourself a lot of money.

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