How to Protect your Identity from being Stolen

Of all the things you would not want stolen, one of the most important is something intangible: your identity.  Identity theft is all too common nowadays, and its ramifications can play havoc with your credit, your money and your life.  Fortunately, there are things that you can do in order to protect yourself. The following are some steps to take to accomplish this goal.

Be very careful with personal information such as credit card numbers, bank accounts, etc.

You will want to be sure that you do not share your personal information unless you trust whom you are giving it to.  Obviously, we need to share our credit card numbers when we purchase something but you should be careful not to share it with any more people than necessary.  There is no reason to be giving out this information without good reason.  Make sure you trust any Internet sites from which you are purchasing. 

Do not give information to people who call you on the phone

A lot of time people perpetrate identity theft crimes by calling and pretending to be from someone’s bank or credit card institution.  They may claim that they need information for your account and will ask you to give them personal information.  Once they have it, they can then use it for nefarious purposes.  When someone calls from such an institution, instead of giving out information, you can tell them that you will call them back.  Then you take a phone number that you know is legitimate such as the phone number on the back of your credit card so that you know you are getting the actual company.

Be very careful about giving out information on the Internet

Your identity can be stolen from information you give out on the Internet if you are not careful.  One scam is that people send an email pretending that they know you or are representatives from your bank or credit card company.  Do not just give out your information to them, even if it says that the e-mail is from them because that can be faked.  Even if they promise you money, remember that this is often how they draw you in.

Notify your credit card companies and banks immediately if someone steals your wallet or if you think the numbers are compromised in any way

One scam that some have done is to steal a wallet and then actually return it with the credit cards still in them. Some people may think that they are then safe and not cancel the cards, however the robbers might have gotten the number from them and are specifically retuning it so that you don’t cancel it.  If it was out of your hands for even a second you should cancel it.

Identity theft is not uncommon and you should take whatever steps possible to avoid it.  Consider the above tips to help you protect yourself.