While it is possible to regain your good name if you are the victim of identity theft, who wants to go through that? Instead, take a few simple precautions to greatly reduce your chances of being taken in the first place. Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft before it happens.
Here are a few easy things you can do to protect yourself:
1. Check your credit report every year, and don’t forget there are 3 credit bureaus, make sure you check your report from each one since they can have different information. You get one free report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year by law, take advantage of that.
You want to look over the whole report and see if anything looks wrong, but there are two particular areas you need to pay attention to: inquiries and address sections.
If you see some company that you aren’t familiar with or done business with has been making inquiries than that is a good sign that someone is trying to get credit using your name and information. Report that immediately.
Also, if there are incorrect addresses on the report don’t just dismiss it as a harmless error, it could mean that someone else is pretending to be you and is having all kinds of credit card offers or loan offers sent to them in your name.
2. Never carry your social security card with you. You don’t really need it very often anyway and you probably have the number memorized. If your card is lost or stolen a thief can use that number to steal your identity. Keep your card in a safe place at home, or better yet, in a safety deposit box at your bank.
3. Shred everything, especially old bills , credit card offers, and any bank statements that you don’t need to keep. There is a lot of information on these documents that a thief could use that can really cause trouble for you and your credit.
4. Contact any companies who are sending you offers for credit cards in the mail and tell them to stop. It’s very easy for a thief to steal these offers right out of your mail box and use it to open an account in your name. If you still get some offers shred them up immediately.
5. Be careful of skimmers. These are electronic devices that will copy your information right off the magnetic strip on your credit card. They are fairly small and compact and are most often used at ATM’s where the crooks will tape them right to the ATM near the regular card reader. If you see this type of set up at an ATM or gas pump, don’t use it. They try to make it look like it’s a part of the machine, but it’s a way for them to steal your information.
6. One of the most important tips I can give you is to have some kind of Virus protection or a spyware program that can help ensure that your computer is safe from spyware issues that a combo program may not be equipped to catch.
Use a free VPN service (virtual private network) like Hotspot Shield which encrypts and secures your data even while using public internet. Hotspot Shield is the largest free VPN service with over 10 million users, including my family.
It is so important to make sure all our devices are secured. I travel with my computer and use public WiFi, and we know how unsecured that is. But I also have downloaded Hotspot Shield and I am now secure in using those free spots. I also use my phone a lot and knowing I have that added protection on all my devises eases my mind and my families!
The benefits in using HotSpot Shield VPN:
1. Secures web sessions with HTTPS encryption
2. Protects IP address – each time you sign in to the internet with HotSpot Shield, you’ll be assigned a new US IP address to mask yours.
3. Surf anonymously – the encryption keeps your digital footprint protected
4. Unblock websites – unblocks any sites so you can access them from anywhere (for example, at work or school)
5. Malware protection – full protection now included in the latest software version.
Windows, Mac, iOS, Android. They have you covered on all your devices!
What are you waiting for, Sign Up for the free service and make sure your family is protected when using their devices!
Your credit score is like your financial reputation and you’ve worked hard to build up a good one. Don’t let some thief steal your good name from you, learn how to protect yourself from identity theft. All it takes is some common sense and some simple changes to your routine and you can be much more secure.