You wouldnt go driving down the highway during rush hour with a blindfold on, would you? Hopefully not (and if you do, please let me know what roads you drive on). If you do not protect yourself from identity theft, thats basically the same as driving blindfolded. Dont think identity theft can never happen to you because you are too well educated or too poor. Identity theft can happen to anybody from all walks of life. According to The Presidents Identity Theft Task Force, about 10 million Americans become victims of identity theft a year. The good news is you can protect yourself from identity theft for free and by using your common sense.
Obtain You Credit Report Obtaining your annual credit report is probably one of the best things that you can do for yourself. You can obtain these free credit reports yearly from Equifax, Transunion or Experian. You can also go on line to AnnualCreditReport.com. This will enable you to see if there are any disputable transactions your accounts may have or if a loan has been taken out in your name.
The earlier you can find a discrepancy, the earlier you can try to fix it. Also, keep track of your monthly bank or credit card statements. They will also show any questionable transactions and protect you from identity theft. Stay Alert Your driver's license, Social Security card and laptop are as valuable as any cash you might have to someone looking for information. Keep them with you at all times when you are not at home. Leaving them unattended even in a locked car is not an option.
Dont Get Hooked By Phishing Emails Suppose you get an email from your banks security department saying there was a problem and they need some information from you, including your account number and passwords. That is not your bank emailing you " thats a phishing email, hoping youll bite at the fake email which leads you to a perfect mimic of a legitimate bank or online services website. Not responding to these emails is a big step to protect yourself from identity theft. And, if you were like me and did to an eBay mimic email (ulp), contact eBay right away to freeze your account and get your password changed. Thankfully, nothing happened to me except learning a valuable lesson on how to protect myself from identity theft.
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