Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
Protecting yourself from identity theft is not something we thing about every day, until we are affected by identity theft. We all know that identity theft is on the rise; however, you may not realize just how prevalent it actually is. According to statistics every 79 seconds someone becomes the victim of identity theft. In many instances identity theft isn’t petty business, either. When someone steals your identity it can mean having thousands of dollars in debt racked up in your name on existing accounts as well as new accounts you never authorized. Your credit score and history can be ruined and for a few poor unfortunate souls it can even mean facing criminal charges for something they never did.
Considering all of the risks, it is imperative that we learn how to protect ourselves from identity theft. When someone steals your identity and perpetuates these kinds of crimes it can actually take years to undo all of the damage and in some cases you may never be able to fully recover financially.
If you think you’re immune from identity theft, it is important to consider that this particular crime has been noted as the fastest growing crime in the United States; affecting practically everyone from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, race or income status.
While this prospect can sound quite frightening the good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your identity and your credit. When looking at ways in which you can manage and control your debt it is also imperative that you consider ways in which you can protect yourself from becoming the next victim of identity theft.
Steps For Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
The first step you should take is understanding how much power lies in your Social Security Number. With this number, a dishonest person can do almost anything. Never give out your Social Security Number unless it is absolutely necessary. Also be sure to keep an eye on not only your credit report but also your Social Security earnings report. This will help you to ensure that no one else is using your Social Security number.
For all of you who do not make it a routine habit to review your bank statements and credit card statements, be sure to reconsider. If you suspect that a statement should have arrived and it has not don’t hesitate to report it to the appropriate institution. Missing mail could mean someone has stolen your identity. Delaying a report gives the criminal more time to do more destruction in your name. It’s also important to make sure there are no unauthorized charges or transactions on any of your statements; even if it appears to be small. A small charge could just be a thief’s way of testing the waters to see if they have found a good target.
It is also important to make sure you are monitoring your credit reports at least once every six months. Look to make sure there have been no new accounts opened in your name that you did not authorize.
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