Best Practices to Avoid Identity Theft

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by Barbara J. Feldman on February 12, 2009

Identity theft is a serious issue in the world these days with milliions of victims suffering from terrible losses everyday. If you have been the victim of identity theft you know how terrible it feels. You feel like nothing is safe—that there is someone always watching you to get your money. It is a fairly creepy feeling and it takes some time to get back to normal. It also takes time to recover from the often devastating financial losses associated with identity theft. The average victim spends thousands of hours recovering their lost income. You obviously do not want to be the victim of identity theft, but if you do not want to suffer from this terrible epidemic you need to learn a few basics. There are a couple of practices that you can try to avoid identity theft and ensure the safety of your wealth and family. Listed bellow are some of the basic guidelines that will help you to avoid identity theft:

1. Watch your mail. Did you know that something like four hundred thousand Americans are the victims of mail identity theft every year? Many cases of identity theft begin when someone just picks up your mail and obtains your identity from it. If you think about it, it really would not be very hard for someone to steal your identity from you by reading your mail. You have bank statements sent to you, new checks, credit card bills, new credit card offers, as well as personal communication that might contain sensitive information. If a criminal were to come by your home in the middle of the day when nobody was there they could easily take your mail. The best solution to this problem is to use a mailbox with a lock on it that has a slit or other small opening.

2. Avoid phishing or email scams. The Internet is a major source of identity theft, with many, many serious forms of identity theft occurring everyday. Phishing occurs when someone sends you an email requesting personal information. This could be your address, your social security number, your credit card numbers, or your bank account numbers. Usually the communication appears to be from your bank, work, or some other important organization. The best way to avoid this common scam is to never, ever, send any personal information in an email to anyone except a close personal friend or family member.

3. Guard your trash and shred your documents. Did you know that many cases of identity theft occur when someone goes through your trash and finds important personal information? How many of us have thrown away a new credit card offer or some sort of bank information? A good way to avoid this problem is to move your trash away from any obvious public location and to shred any papers you plan on throwing away. Get a shredder and put everything through it that might have personal information. In just a few seconds you can turn any sort of personal document into meaningless strips of paper.

These are just a few of the basics when it comes to avoiding identity theft, but they are some of the most important ones. With a little education and some careful practice you can avoid identity theft and help to keep your family and friends safe. Don’t ever assume that your information will be safe if you are not carefull with it—you would be surprised to find out just how many identity thieves there are out there. Be smart and educate yourself about identity theft.


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Feldman, Barbara. "Best Practices to Avoid Identity Theft." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/523/best-practices-to-avoid-identity-theft/ >.