In this day in age, identity theft is a very real and unfortunate occurrence, knowing how to protect yourself is your first defense.

Identity Theft: Learning To Protect Yourself

We live in a world in which identity theft affects us all. At every corner, at every turn, there may be a thief just waiting for us to let our guard down, constant awareness of your documents and surroundings is necessary to guard yourself against this travesty. The following are ten tips on how you can protect yourself against identity theft.

Tip #1 - Lighten the weight of your purse or wallet.

Carrying all your identification and credit cards in either can create a disastrous situation for you in the event that your purse or wallet is stolen. You should only keep what you need daily in order to protect yourself.

If your purse or wallet is stolen, you have less to keep track of, backups if necessary, as well as the fact that they won't have all of your information readily available. Make sure you take all necessary precautions to prevent theft, but if a theft does occur, you are prepared at the least.

Tip #2 - Use a Safe

Make sure you protect all valuable identification details in your home, particularly when you are not using them. This provides protection for this information in the event of a home break-in.

Tip #3 – Know Who to Call

It is always a good idea to backup your credit card details and contact number of the company, in the event of a theft or loss. Do not keep these in your wallet or purse; however, keep them somewhere safe and readily available.

Tip #4 – Travel Smart

While traveling, be sure that you have backups of your identification and passport as well. Identity theft is just as real abroad as it is at home. Your backup information should include your passport number, original birth certificates, and perhaps a copy of your passport, as well as any prescriptions, serial numbers of expensive equipment, and other important information.

Tip #5 – Keep It To Yourself

If you receive a telephone call or email from any person or company requesting your personal information such as social security number, password, or PIN number, report it immediately and ignore the email or hang up the telephone right away. These are generally frauds, looking to retrieve your information to use it to their benefit and to your downfall.

Tip #6 – Secure is Best
You should be sure that your computer is safeguarded against attacks and malicious programs. Many people have created programs specifically designed to grab information from your computer, without you ever knowing, such as passwords, user names, credit card numbers, and various other information. Use programs such as Norton or McAffee to protect your computer from spyware, Trojans, and other forms of viruses.

Tip # 7 – Change it up Now and Then

Changing your passwords periodically is a great practice to get into. Another good practice for passwords is to be sure they are not easily guessed. Don't make them obvious, mix your numbers and letters, but ensure they are still easy to remember for your own well-being.

Tip #8 – Secure Your Information

We all want to be sure we have our information readily available in case we need it or tend forget things easily. However, keeping any form of identification such as military ID, driver's license, insurance or social security number out in the open is not a good idea. These should be kept in a secure place until needed.

Tip # 9 – Don't Print It

Convenient though it is, having your social security number or driver's license number pre-printed on check is never a good idea. If needed, these can be written on there by you or the clerk, and will likely be a prompt to ask for identification.

Tip #10 – Mum is the word

You don't want to openly declare your personal information to just anyone. Be sure you are dealing with a reputable company before you give this information out. Ask yourself or the person you are dealing with, why they need this information, is it a legitimate reason? Do they absolutely need it? Don't give it out unless you believe it is legitimate reason and they have to have the information to continue with the business.

Author's Bio: 

Leon Edward provides free information online on identity theft prevention, internet privacy and FREE Identity Theft Prevention Checklist at his website

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