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Prevent Identity Theft With 6 Easy Habits

Apr 10, 2008
Although it is a massive number, the estimate is that approximately ten million people will be affected by identity theft this year. Given that information is such an important part of our society these days, it is not a complete surprise. Most people will have personal details listed on government and business databases. They will shop online or via the telephone. Information they have given out will be sent out in letters that may go astray. For unscrupulous people, many of these instances are an ideal opportunity to take advantage of people that don't look after their personal details. This article will give you six ways that you can do this and prevent identity theft happening to you.

If you are throwing out any mail or documents, check that they do not have any of your personal details on them. A common form of acquiring identity is to go through someones trash looking for this type of information. This could include any government letters, credit card statements, utility bills or receipts. You should shred these type of documents before throwing them away. If you don't have a shredder then tear them up into many pieces.

Remove any letters from your mail box promptly. It goes without saying that thieves can go through your mail box and steal important letters that have your personal details on them. If this is a real problem in your area then getting a PO Box is a better solution to mail theft. Also, ensure that your mail is handled if you are away for work or vacation. A simple hold or redirect service that the postal services run for a small fee can help in this situation.

Keep your social security number in a safe place. Hide it somewhere in the home or in a secure store like a safe or such like. You don't need to carry your social security number on you and rarely need to use it to prove your identity, so it is not a good idea to carry it on your person in a wallet or bag.

Be careful with any receipts that you are given. Dont leave them lying around at the ATM or bank for instance. If you use a credit card to pay for something, take the receipt with you as it contains information that is useful for identity thieves.

Don't give any personal details to cold calling telephone people. They may sound legitimate but this is no guarantee that they are legitimate. Better still, ask them who they are, the company they are calling on behalf of and the reason for the call. Then phone back the company on a verified number and ask about the person and reason for calling. This should prove the legitimacy of the call and you may want to give the information they asked for away then.

Get rid of the junk mail. You don't want any of your information, even your name and address, on mail that you have no time or need for. Respond to unwanted junk mail by asking to have your name removed from the mailing list. They are obliged to remove your name by law and you should not have tonnes of meaningless junk mail in your mail box.

Whilst most of these suggestions are common sense and easy to do, people tend to drop their guard from time to time. Either they think identity theft won't happen to them or they get a little disorganized. The best bet is to make these suggestions into daily habits that become automatic behavior. Thus you give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding being a victim of identity theft.
About the Author
For advice on identity theft protection , visit http://www.identitytheftsentry.com . Learn about phishing and other common scams.
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