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Protect Your Identity: Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Preventing Identity Theft: Tips to Protect Your Information

Identity theft has become a prevalent issue in our society. With the advancements in technology and the growth of the internet, our personal information is at a higher risk of being compromised than ever before.

Unfortunately, identity theft can lead to devastating consequences with lasting effects. From financial loss to damaged credit scores to the cost of reclaiming your identity, the impact of identity theft can trouble you for many years.

The good news is, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.

Reporting a Missing Driver’s License

Your driver’s license is an important document that contains your personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth.

If your driver’s license goes missing or is stolen, immediately report it to the authorities and replace it with a new one. Identity thieves can use your driver’s license to open accounts or apply for loans in your name.

By obtaining your driver’s license, they can also use it as a form of identification to steal more of your personal information.

Paying a Security Deposit Sight Unseen

If you are looking to rent a new property, be cautious when paying a security deposit sight unseen. Rental scams are becoming increasingly common, with fraudsters posting fake ads for properties that don’t actually exist or are not available for rent.

They may also trick you into paying a deposit for a property that has already been rented to someone else. To avoid falling victim to a rental scam, always meet the landlord in person to view the property before signing any agreements or paying any money.

Locking Your Mailbox

Thieves can use mail theft to steal your sensitive information, such as your bank and credit card statements, healthcare bills, and other letters that could contain your personal information. To prevent mail theft, consider locking your mailbox or using a P.O. Box.

The benefits of using a P.O. Box is that it provides an additional layer of security, and you don’t have to worry about using the mailbox key or passcodes to secure it.

Clicking Email Links

Phishing emails are a common method of identity theft used by fraudsters to access your personal information. They send you an email that appears to be from a legitimate organization, such as a bank or social media network, asking you to click a link to update your information.

Once you click the link, it redirects you to a fake website, where you enter your confidential information, and they use it for fraudulent activities. To avoid falling victim to a phishing email, never click on any link in an unsolicited email.

Password Protecting Your Cellphone

Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets have become an essential tool for our daily lives. We use them to access our bank accounts, make online purchases and store our personal files.

To protect your personal information stored on your mobile device, always set a strong passcode that is unique and hard to guess. Consider setting up two-factor authentication or facial recognition to secure your device even further.

Posting Your Whereabouts on Social Media

People often share their availability and location using their social media profiles, checking into a restaurant, posting vacation pictures, or sharing the events they are attending. Unfortunately, this information can also be used by identity thieves to track you down and steal your information.

To avoid falling victim, consider adjusting your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts.

Saving Your Credit or Debit Card Information Online

Online shopping has become increasingly popular in recent years, saving time and making e-commerce more convenient. However, saving your credit or debit card information online can make your account vulnerable to cyber criminals who target retailers or payment processors to steal your personal data.

Only purchase from reputable websites and avoid saving your payment information on any website. Using Mother’s Maiden Name as Security Question

Security questions are often used to verify your identity when resetting passwords or accessing other confidential information.

Using your mother’s maiden name as a security question is common, but it can also be a weak point of vulnerability. Consider using a more specific question and answer that is not easily guessed.

Using Public WiFi

Public WiFi networks, such as those in coffee shops, airports, and hotels, are convenient for checking in on work or surfing the web when youre on the move. However, these networks can be unsecured, which can give hackers an easy entry point to your device and your personal information.

To protect yourself, be sure to verify that the public WiFi is secure before connecting.

Not Securing Your Home WiFi

Your home WiFi network can also be a weak point of vulnerability, particularly if you dont secure it. If an identity thief gains access to your home network, they can use it to access and steal your personal information.

Always set up a strong password for your WiFi network and change its default username and password.

Having Weak Passwords

Your password is your first line of defense against identity theft. If you use passwords that are easy to guess, your accounts can be hacked, and your personal information will become vulnerable.

Always use strong and unique passwords that contain a mix of letters, numbers and special characters to make it hard for someone to guess your password.

Keeping Social Security Card in Wallet

Your Social Security card contains your most important personal information, including your name and Social Security number. Carrying your Social Security card in your wallet puts it at a high risk of being lost or stolen.

Instead of keeping it in your wallet, keep it stored in a secure location, such as a locked safe deposit box.

Not Signing Up for Paperless Statements

Paper statements and bills are often delivered to the wrong address or left lying around unprotected, providing an opportunity for identity thieves to acquire your confidential information. Instead of paper statements, sign up for paperless statements that are delivered electronically to your email, providing you with increased security and convenience.

Not Checking ATMs for Skimmers

ATM skimmers are devices that fit over an ATM card reader or PIN keypad, recording the card and PIN numbers that customers enter. Be on the lookout for signs of tampering such as loose ATM parts, extra cameras, unfamiliar people around the ATM, or unsolicited offers of help.

Always check the ATM before using it, and report any suspicious activity. Not Erasing an Old Computer’s Hard Drive

When you dispose of an old computer, always erase its hard drive to ensure that none of your personal information remains.

Even if you delete files, they still may exist on the hard drive and be recoverable by someone with the right software. Take the time to overwrite your hard drive multiple times, making sure that all data has been fully removed.

Not Checking Website URLs

Secure websites should always be used when conducting online transactions to guarantee the safety of your personal information. Always check the website’s URL to make sure that it starts with https:// and has a lock icon in the browser, indicating that you are on a secure server.

Not Shredding Financial Offers

Credit card offers and financial documents contain personal information such as your name and address, which can be used to open accounts in your name. Always shred these documents before disposing of them to prevent dumpster divers from stealing your information.

Not Checking Your Credit Report

One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft is to check your credit report regularly. Your credit report contains a lot of information about your financial accounts, and its essential to make sure that this information is accurate.

Be sure to monitor your credit reports for any suspicious activity or unauthorized accounts.

Not Monitoring Financial Account Balances

Monitoring your financial account balances is another important step in detecting any fraudulent activity. Check your account balances and statements regularly to ensure that there are no unauthorized transactions or withdrawals.

If you notice any suspicious activity, be sure to report it to your financial institution immediately.

Falling for the Fake Caller ID Trick

Scammers use fake caller IDs to deceive people into providing their personal information. The caller ID may appear to be from a legitimate company or organization, but its not always the case.

If you receive a call from a number that you don’t recognize or from a company you don’t do business with, be skeptical. Never provide your personal information over the phone, and hang up immediately if the caller becomes aggressive or attempts to pressure you.

Identity Theft Statistics

Identity theft is a growing problem. According to a recent fraud survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, 16.7 million U.S. consumers were victims of identity fraud in 2017, up 8% from 2016.

The amount stolen from U.S. consumers in 2016 was approximately $16 billion. This is why it is important to take proactive steps to protect your personal information.


Identity theft is a serious problem that can have lasting effects. By taking proactive steps to protect your personal information, you can greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

Remember to always report missing or stolen documents promptly, use secure passwords, monitor your financial accounts, and be cautious when conducting online transactions. By being vigilant, you can protect yourself from this devastating occurrence.

Identity theft is a growing problem in today’s society, with millions of people falling victim to it every year. To protect yourself from becoming a target, it is essential to take proactive steps such as reporting missing documents, securing your passwords, monitoring financial accounts, and being cautious online.

Additionally, always be aware of the risks associated with identity theft and take timely action to avoid falling victim. By being vigilant of these steps, you can safeguard your personal information and ensure that your identity is never compromised.

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