How Do I Stop Identity Theft?

How do I stop Identity theft? One thing that has not gone into recession is identity theft. From dumpster divers to people listening in on your private conversations, ID thieves are getting more advanced in their methods of getting your private information than ever before.
In America we are under attack unlike anything we have ever seen by previous generations. Safeguarding your private financial account and social security numbers may be impossible.

You May Already Be A Victim Of ID Theft And Not Know It
The estimates are that over 700,000 Americans every year fall prey to some form of identity theft. This number may be considered low because some people just do not report it. They also may not even know that they have been taken advantage of. You may have a bill on your credit card that you just pay without noticing it. The experts say that the majority is just from someone finding a credit card statement in the trash or even just looking over your shoulder. Mail theft is also a common way. Criminals will just look for credit card statements. Once they have one, they are off to the races.

How Do I Keep Myself Safe From Identity Theft?

Keep Your Social Security Number Completely Private

One of the most important things is to keep your social security number completely private. Do not carry your social security card in your wallet. You may want to check your driver’s license and health insurance card for your social security numbers.

Many companies and government entities use your social security number as your account number. If this is the case, you may want to scratch it off. I know that in Arizona, the Department of Motor Vehicles recently changed their driver’s licenses. AZ does not use social security numbers as the license number anymore. If you have an old license, you may want to go to the DMV and get a new one.

Sign Up For A Credit Report Monitoring Service

Have you seen the commercial for this company on TV – LifeLock? The President/CEO of the company puts his social security number on the side of a truck and drives around in New York City because of his confidence in his company to protect him, and his customers, from ID Theft. The company’s name of their credit monitoring service is: LifeLock Identity Theft Prevention. They even guarantee you in the event of a theft.

Use A Shredder To Destory Old Credit Account Statements

Do not throw your statements in the garbage. A name and an address is enough to do damage. Be sure to shred everything. I picked up a Fellowes P70CM for under $50. It does a great job shredding everything. If you can recycle it that is even better. Shred all of those credit card offers as well. Definitely make sure those cash advance checks make it into the grinder.

Make Sure That Your Mailbox Has a Lock

ID thieves love mailboxes that are unlocked. You might as well just leave your front door wide open and invite them in. Make sure that your mailbox is secure and has a lock on it. If you can, do not leave your mail in the mailbox over night. The cover of darkness is preferred by a thief. That is a great time to steal your mail and your identity. Empty out your mailbox daily.

Check Your Credit Report Regularly

If you have not looked at your credit report in awhile you may want to have a look. Many people are shocked to see what is on their credit report. I would pull a tri-merge credit report every quarter. You want to make sure that it includes all three credit bureaus. The three credit bureaus are Experian, Transunion and Equifax.

The bottom line with ID theft is that you just need to be careful. If someone wants your personal information, you can just ask them if it is really necessary. Every time I go to the Doctor, they want my social security number. Every time I just refuse. They huff and puff but they are not the ones who have to clean up the mess of an identity thief should they screw up and not keep my information safe. So I do not mind them being upset with me. Just use your head and that should take care of 90% of the threat of ID theft.