Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. How to protect from identity theft is, subsequently, a topic that is getting more and more attention. You may feel vulnerable and ask yourself, "How do I best protect my identity?" Here, we will touch on three important steps you can take.
First, be wary of anyone who asks you for sensitive personal information. It would be highly unusual to be asked for your social security number simply for the purpose of making a purchase. It would also be quite rare for any reputable organization to ask you for a password to a private site or account. If you think you are being asked for too much information for a given purpose, be very suspicious. If a company or other organization calls you on the phone and asks for this kind of information, again, be very careful, even if it is a company with which you regularly do business. Hang up and call back at the company's regular number and verify whether or not they were attempting to reach you.
Keeping your private documents secure is the second step you can take for identity protection. Items like your social security card and birth certificate should almost always be locked in in a secure location. Carry your credit and debit cards only when you think you will need to use them. Use online security tools such as a firewall and anti-virus and anti-malware software to protect your online identity. An identity protection service such as Identity Guard® can also provide you with tools like ID Vault® to store your valuable passwords and Privacy Protect® to encrypt your key strokes.
Lastly, monitoring your credit is an important step if you are asking yourself how to protect from identity theft. While suspicious use of your credit may become apparent to you in time, using Identity Guard as a comprehensive identity monitoring service can alert you even faster. Identity Guard will send you timely alerts when such activity is detected. You may choose to receive alerts by phone, email or text message. A convenient mobile application is also available should you choose to download it to your mobile device.
Following the steps outlined here will be a good line of defense against identity theft and may help you avoid time consuming and frustrating clean ups if you are targeted for this growing crime.