Best 5 Ways To Avoid Identity Theft

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Identify theft seems to become more of a problem with each passing year.

It only takes a little bit of your personal information for an identity thief to cause major headaches for you.  Resolving the problems an identity thief causes can take a very long time to resolve not the mention the stress and financial hardship.

Some tips to avoid identity theft are:

  1. Be sure to shred any documents which contain any personal information before throwing it away. This includes receipts, old credit card bills, bank statements and cancelled checks, tax records, credit offers and anything else that contains personal information.
  2. We hear a great deal about computer hacking as a major cause of identity theft. Even more prevalent is identity theft as a result of a lost wallet or purse.  These items can carry a treasure trove of information for an identity thief.

Carry only the credit cards you plan to use and leave the others at home.

Do not carry a cheat sheet for yourself listing your PIN numbers and passwords.

Do not routinely carry your Social Security card, your birth certificate or your passport.

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Make a photo copy of your Medicare card and cut out the last 4 numbers,  Of course, take your actual Medicare card with you when needed such as to a doctor appointment.

  1. Make copies of both the front and back of your credit cards and keep these copies in a safe place. This way you will have the necessary information to contact your credit card companies and your bank in the event your cards are lost or stolen.

If your accounts have been compromised or are at risk, contact the companies which issued the cards.  Let them know the situation and ask to obtain a new number for the account as well as a new PIN number.  You probably do not want to close out the accounts since this may hurt your credit score.

  1. Know the closing date of your credit card and bank statements and when these statements should arrive. Some identity thiefs will actually put a change of address through for your accounts so you need to be sure you are receiving the statements you should be receiving each month.

Go over  your credit card and bank statements to be certain all the transactions were made or authorized by you.

If you have access so you can check your bank accounts and credit accounts online then you should keep frequent watch over them.

  1. Never give any personal information to someone you were not expecting who calls you on the phone. The thiefs have been known to claim they are from your bank, credit card company or even the Internal Revenue Service.  This will not be true.  Give them no information.

Check your credit reports several times a year.  You can obtain a free report from each of the 3 credit reporting companies once a year.  The three companies are Experian, Equifax and Trans-Union.  If you find any errors on your credit report be sure you have them corrected.