Our current economy it tough enough without having to worry about identity theft prevention. But desperate times equals desperate measures and our economy is breeding many desperate people who are turning to white collar crimes.
Identity theft is one of those crimes. Statistics show that ID theft is on the rise. With people losing their homes, cars, and jobs, well people are just plain at their wits end and getting desperate. Most individuals wouldn’t ever consider going into a bank waving a hand gun, but they may be more easily persuaded to ‘borrow’ someone’s identity and commit identity theft. As tough and stressful as these times are, it is critical that we guard our identities even more so.
Most of us have a ton of other pressing issues in our lives to worry about. Pulling our hair out to figure out how to protect ourselves from identity theft is just not another thing we need to drive ourselves crazy over. With that thought in mind, I thought it would be helpful to create a list of identity theft prevention tips that can be quickly referred to and used on a daily basis.
At Home and Work:
- Never give credit card or personal information out over the phone.
- Do not give any passwords out over the phone or through email, whether it is for a personal or work related issues.
- Shred all documents and pre-approved offers before throwing them out in the trash.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and people close by when using sensitive data in public.
- Speak quietly on the phone in public if giving out credit card information is unavoidable.
- Do not have your license number printed on your checks.
- Don’t carry your social security card with you.
- Opt out of pre-approved offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
- Refrain from putting sensitive information in the mailbox. Mail letters containing sensitive information at the post office.
- Know what accounts are open in your name by obtaining a free credit report that everyone is entitled to each year.
- Beware of job scams, don’t give out personal data unless certain the person you are talking to is from a legitimate company.
Computer and Internet:
- Only deal with reputable online merchants.
- If making an online purchase be sure the web site is secure. Check and make sure the URL says https instead of just http.
- Always be certain to have the latest software upgrades and operating system updates and patches.
- Always use anti virus protection, anti spyware protection and a firewall. Be sure to update to the latest version and test for vulnerabilities.
- Be sure to read all the manuals that come with networking hardware and software and set all the security features that are available.
- Use complex passwords for the network SSID and password.
- Regularly scan the network to identify vulnerabilities.
- Avoid phishing by never clicking a link in an e-mail message. Instead, manually type the URL address into the web browser and log in normally.
- Never open e-mail attachments, even if it is from a friend.
- Don’t use p2p file sharing programs. They run rampant with virus and spyware infected programs.
- Never use copied disks and CDs.
- Be sure to scan anything downloaded off the internet with an anti virus program.
As you have probably noticed by now, there are a lot of little things you can do to practice ID theft prevention. Most of them are common sense but are easy to overlook on a daily basis.
The identity theft prevention tips listed above should become second nature after a while. Don’t let a few minor inconveniences result in becoming a victim of identity theft. Put these identity theft prevention tips into practice today. Print them out and post them on the refrigerator if necessary.
There are already enough things to worry about in these tough economic times, you certainly don’t need to worry about identity theft restoration on top of everything else.