Identity theft has been the fastest growing crime in the United States for over five years in a row, and it seems to show no signs of letting up whatsoever. Consumers that are not careful and leave themselves exposed to the threats that can cause identity theft run a high risk of falling victim to a crime that can take several years to recover from.
Many consumers are not aware of how to prevent identity theft. To ensure that you are taking the proper steps to keep identity theft from happening to you, make sure you safeguard your personal information in the following ways:
Shred All Financial Documents And Other Paperwork That Contains Personal Information
Dumpster diving has become one of the most popular methods of identity theft among criminals, so be sure to use a cross cut shredder to destroy documents properly.
Do Not Provide Personal Information Over The Telephone
Another favorite method of stealing identities that thieves have been utilizing over the past few years is called "vishing". Vishing is when someone calls you on the phone, misrepresents themselves as somebody else, and misleads you into providing personal information.
Protect Your Social Security Number
For some reason, Americans often feel the need to carry their social security cards in their purse or wallet. Not only is this extremely unsafe in regards to an identity theft risk, but it's simply unnecessary. Keep your social security card and number stored away in a safe, preferably locked, place.
Never Click Links In Emails Sent By Someone You Don't Know Well
There are thousands of malicious software programs that have been written over the years in order to hijack personal information from unsuspecting computer users and send the data back to a central location. Phishing, as this practice is referred to as, has been on the rise over the past decade and criminals seem to get more and more clever when it comes to finding ways to trick consumers into revealing personal information.
Use Strong Passwords
Many consumers are in the habit of using passwords such as dates of birth, mothers maiden name, pet names, and children names for the ability to gain access to email and other other secure websites. Identity thieves recognize this and are able to figure out these types of passwords easily.