10 Ways To Prevent Identity Theft

by Pam on September 4, 2009

Prevent Identity TheftAfter writing about my experience of losing my credit card, I thought it wouldn’t hurt for me to delve a little deeper into the ways that we can proactively prevent, or at least protect ourselves from identity theft.  Here are some tips below:

1. If you use the Internet, be sure to use antivirus software on your computer and keep it up to date.  You should also enable the firewall on your PC.

2.  Be careful what you send via email.  Limit the amount of sensitive information you send in your emails.  Be very cautious about including account numbers, credit card information, numbers such as Social Security Numbers or Social Insurance Numbers, etc.  Keep in mind that someone else could be reading those emails.

3.  Be creative in choosing passwords.  Don’t use obvious personal info like your address or birthday.  Instead, try to incorporate a variety of numbers and letters that would be difficult for anyone to guess.

4.  Make sure a website is legitimate before entering any credit card information to make purchases.  If you do a quick Google search on the company you will be able to find out right away if they are a scam.  Also, check out the site’s Privacy Policy to ensure that they won’t be selling your information to spammers.

5.  Limit information that you provide to people over the phone as well.  You have no way of telling if they really are who they say they are.  Never give out your credit card information or sensitive identification numbers such as a SIN or SSN over the phone.

6.  Be sure to destroy all sensitive papers before throwing them in the trash.  Using a shredder is an efficient way to ensure all the information is illegible.  Be sure to file away the information you need to keep in a safe place.

7.  Be careful to not let your credit card out of your sight.  When at restaurants, it’s better to pay at the till then to let someone take the credit card from the table.  Although for the most part employees are honest there are a few who take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

8.  Check your online banking or bank statements regularly to look out for suspicious charges.  If you see any unusual transactions, be sure to contact your financial institution.

9.  Always be aware of your surroundings.  If you are making a PIN purchase, do your best to shield your PIN entry from curious eyes from behind or beside you.

10.  Don’t put too much personal information on your checks.  The less you reveal about yourself, the better.

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