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Steps to preventing ID theft

Updated on August 7, 2010

Identity theft is real. That you can believe. But companies like Life Lock, Protect My ID, and Trusted ID, just to name a few, have hyped up Identity theft and offer nothing more than pricey services.

Identity theft is on the rise after having trended down over the past 4 years. It is estimated that 11 million people or more were hit by identity theft just last year alone. Some state that the spike in identity theft is due to the recession. But keeping your identity safe doesn't mean that you have to spend your money on these over priced companies. I'm going to show you simple steps that you can utilise to help protect yourself and your family from Identity theft.

Don't be scared, Be serious

 First and foremost...be smart when it comes to your Social Security Number. If someone from a "company" should call you and want your SSN don't give it to them, don't send it in a text message, and don't send it in an email. Even if the email is from your bank...This could be a "phishing" email and not really from your bank at all! And unless you are sending a check to the IRS, don't write your SSN on your checks.

Never ever should you carry your Social Security card with you. Nor should you carry unused credit cards or PIN numbers and passwords that you have written down. And be smart with your wallet or purse, don't leave it unattended.

Store any records you have at home in a safe place. This includes bank statements, medical records, and taxes. To name a few. And when you are done with these items, shred them.

When it comes to social networking the things you need to remember are : Don't post your birth date, mother's maiden name, or any other personal information about yourself. As this allows others to easily identify who you are, therefore allowing them to electronically gain access to your accounts.

Sign up for any free online or mobile alerts that your banks or other financial institutions may offer. This could signal you to suspicious activity. Therefore giving you a faster chance to stop the ID theft before it even gets started.

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