Many people are now conducting business and making purchases online. Unscrupulous criminals are lying in wait to steal your identity and they are coming up with new strategies for identity theft every day. Banks and other credit institutions can sometimes refund a purchase if it is caught in time and you notify the credit card company immediately. Sadly, many times there is no way for you to recover your losses. The best way to save yourself from financial disaster is to prevent identity theft from every occurring in the first place.
Part of saving money and making good financial decisions includes protecting yourself from identity theft. Following these 10 important tips can protect you from having your identity stolen.
#1 Do Not Give Out Your Personal Information
Be careful whom you give your personal information to, and make sure you know how this information will be used. If you are suspicious of a site, never give out your personal information.
#2 Be Wary of Requests for Bank Account Information
There is a telephone scam where the caller will tell you that fraudulent charges have been made to your bank account and you need to give them your account information. Your bank already has your account information and will never call and request it over the phone. If you receive such a call, make a trip to your bank and verify your account in person.
#3 Protect Your Passwords
When sharing a computer, never store your passwords. It may be a little more inconvenient to type in your password every time, but it could save you from having your personal information stolen. Never use easily guessed passwords, such as your name or date of birth.
#4 Do Not Open Unsolicited Emails
Never open unsolicited emails. They may contain viruses or spyware that can steal your personal information from home computers. Delete these emails without opening them.
#5 Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software can prove invaluable for removing harmful viruses and spy-ware. You should make sure your security settings do not allow your personal information to be shared.
#6 Be Careful While Surfing the Internet
Unsafe sites may contain viruses that will attack your computer or steal your personal information by installing spyware on your computer. Scan your computer for viruses after visiting an unsafe site.
#7 Shred Bills and Credit Card Information
A thief can do a little dumpster diving and have enough information to drain your bank account and charge thousands of dollars to your credit card. Shred all bills, bank statements and credit card information before throwing them in the trash.
#8 Protect Your Social Security Number
Do not carry your social security card in your purse or wallet. If someone steals your wallet, your social security card can be used to steal your identity and gain access to your bank or credit card accounts.
#9 Secure Personal Documents
Make backup copies of your personal documents and keep them in a separate location other than your home. Keep personal documents locked in a safe. Remember that the bedroom is the first place most burglars will look for valuables.
#10 Protect Your Information While Away From Home
Have the post office hold your mail while away from home. Never leave a message on your answering machine announcing that you are away from home. You also should not list your home address on luggage.
Take time now to secure your personal information while at home can save you from financial disaster and keep would-be thieves from stealing your identity. Contact us for more ways to save money including budgeting tips, smart spending tips, and ways to teach your children to save money.