Protecting Yourself from ID Theft with the Basics

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 12, 2009

Identity theft is a serious problem, and it has become increasingly worse over the past twenty years with the invention of the Internet. Although the Internet is a great new technological innovation, it tends to create serious problems because of the ease with which information is shared. Your personal information could be spread throughout cyberspace with the click of a button. We now do much of our banking, purchasing, and socializing online, which means that we are constantly putting personal information online. However, with all of this emphasis on Internet identity theft we often forget that there are other serious forms of identity theft that afflict thousands of families. You need to know about all the forms of identity theft if you are going to protect yourself and your family from these problems. Read below about various forms of protecting yourself from identity theft and identity crimes that necessitate them:

1. Protect your mail. Few people realize that there are all sorts of problems associated with mail and identity theft. Hundreds of thousands of people have their identities stolen each year because someone takes their mail. Perhaps the best way to protect against this is to make it physically difficult to take mail from your mailbox. You could do this by installing a new mailbox with a mail slit and a keyed entry. Some people prefer to install a box that literally enters into their home. You might also want to try to stop pre-approved credit card offers, which are a special treat for identity thieves looking through your mail.

2. Be very careful with phishing or other Internet scams. The Internet is a hot bed of identity theft, and mostly because it is so easy to impersonate someone through it. Phishing scams work by requesting information from a victim by posing as an interested group, such as a bank. There are also cloned websites that appear legitimate but which are simply copies of real sites. Watch out for these sorts of scams and make it a rule to never send personal information in the form of an email. Only pay for things on sites that you are sure are legitimate. One way to also help protect against these problems is to invest in software designed to guard against identity theft scams.

3. Shred your trash. You might not expect someone to go through your trash in order to recover information pertaining to your identity but it happens all the time. Thieves will go through yoru garbage in order to find old bills or credit card statements. Just think about how much personal information goes into your garbage can in a given month. You need to shred any type of information that might lead back to you.

4. Never carry your social security card or other forms of identification that are not absolutely necessary. Be especially careful carrying a passport. If you suspect that any of these items have been stolen you should immediately report it.

These are just a couple of the methods used to protect yourself from identity theft, but if we could all just follow these basics there would be almost no identity theft in the world. Another useful tactic is to pass information along to people you know—let them know about new scams. You could also watch out on the Internet, searching for sites that keep people apprised of new identity theft methods. Using all of these methods will help to ensure that you and your family can live without the fear of identity theft.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Protecting Yourself from ID Theft with the Basics." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 22 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/529/protecting-yourself-from-id-theft-with-the-basics/ >.