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Preventing Identity Theft

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime that is extremely violating. A thief steals your personal information to commit fraud. Many people think it won't happen to them however statistics show that there are over 15.4 million victims a year. Thieves are using personal information to fraudulently apply for credit, medical services, filing taxes and as a result, your credit status can take a huge hit. The process of fixing your status after you have been a victim is tremendously time-consuming and frustrating. 

Here are some tips on preventing identity theft: 
  • Do not carry your (or your children's) social security card in your wallet. Only give this information out when it is absolutely necessary. 
  • Shred all your receipts, account statements, expired credit cards and any credit offers you get. People go through trash looking for this information. Shredders can be found for less than $30 and are well worth the investment.
  • Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited requests for your personal information.
  • Order your credit report at least once a year and review it carefully to ensure that it doesn't include accounts that were not opened by you.
  • Review your credit card and bank account statements. Keep an eye out for transactions that you did not authorize. Question them even if you remember ordering something later. It's better to be safe than sorry! 
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
  • Make sure that you create passwords that are not obvious. Do not keep them where they can easily be found and change them often. 
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