Finances and your identity can seem like extremely worrisome things to keep track of, but there are plenty of reliable ways to do just that. In order to learn how to protect yourself - and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, it's necessary to first understand exactly what identity theft is. Being aware of the occurrence of identity theft isn't enough to keep it from happening, in fact many people's impressions of identity theft are entirely incorrect. This type of theft has evolved from people simply writing and cashing checks with false names and opening up lines of credit using other people's information. Today's identity thieves are much craftier - and work in secret a great deal of the time. This means that there is a decreased likelihood of catching these thieves because they work from the comfort of their own homes.
Types of Identity Theft
Identity theft can happen via many methods; it may be through the Internet or email, or it could be the result of someone finding a bank slip or piece of discarded mail. In many cases, the only information that a thief needs is something small - something to give them an idea of your personal life's details... and they're in. It may be a routing or account number, an address, or even something like a password and account information, but it doesn't need to be much. Identity theft types vary in detail, but they are the same in theory - and no less devastating in their differences. Online identity theft happens to many people because they don't think twice about posting personal information or using computers to do banking or shopping, but offline identity theft may happen for a reason like a robbery, someone searching through garbage, or even something like a disgruntled relative or friend that plucks a piece of information and uses it without permission.
Changing Habits Can Help
It may not seem like much, but changing a few habits can sometimes be enough to deter would-be thieves from trying to compromise the identity you've worked hard to establish for yourself. Changing passwords often (and picking ones that are difficult to guess) is one manner of protection, as is not posting as many intimate details, pictures and pieces of information as you are accustomed to. Thoroughly discarding trash, bills, receipts, mail and other paper products will give thieves less to get their hands on, meaning that they will have to work much harder to find out the information that they need. Another "habit" to change is the amount of information that you share with families, friends and strangers - the less they have to work with, the better. It may be hard to cut back and share less, but in the end, it will be well worth it. As a final - and more definite - measure of protection, there are services available that include identity monitors and credit monitoring services which are specially designed and implemented by users to fully watch over the most intimate and imperative life details a person has.