What measures can you take to ensure identity theft protection? While there is no way to protect yourself 100 percent from identity theft, there are definitely steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim and to minimize the damage if you do.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses personal information stolen from you to procure a loan, credit card, or even a fake driver’s license. By the time the identity thief is through, there may be thousands of dollars of damage as well as damage to your reputation and credit ratings. Because of this, identity theft protection is extremely important.
Your best weapon in identity theft protection is awareness. Identity theft scams are intended to deceive you, and it is much harder to have your identity stolen if you keep a careful watch over your information. Do not leave your credit cards lying around where anyone can see the numbers. Shred financial documents that you are throwing away. Make sure no one looks your shoulder when you use the ATM. If someone calls you asking for a password or credit card data, do not give it to them. If you are concerned, ask them which agency they are with and offer to call that agency back. Most people think that most identity theft happens online, but this is not the case. You need to be aware of what you are doing in the physical world. However, online identity theft happens as well, and there are several methods of protection. Only transmit your private information through secure servers, and only do so when you have initiated the transfer of information. Never provide personal information when requested to do so through an e-mail or instant message. If you are concerned, type the URL of the agency requiring the information directly into your web browser, go directly to the site and investigate.
The most effective way to protect yourself against identity theft is to sign up for regular credit reports and monitoring from a credit reporting service. This also enables you to get alerts whenever significant changes happen to your credit report or score. If an identity theft tries to take out a loan in your name, or runs up a large credit card bill without paying, you will know right away. Upon receiving the alert, you can contact the credit bureau and lending agency and let them know so that the fraudulent activity is stopped, and with any luck, the identity thief is apprehended. The sooner you learn of an identity theft attempt, the easier it is to minimize the damage. You are not responsible for charges made by an identity thief, but without proper credit monitoring, your credit rating may be severely damaged before you ever learn what is going on. With credit monitoring, you are more effectively armed against identity thieves.