Protecting your identity will also help you protect your money. In this day and age identity theft is rampant. Because a stolen identity can cost you more than money (for example, fixing your credit report, as well as dealing with the hassle of getting new cards and new accounts), it is vital to protect your identity in order to safeguard your finances and your life.
Although there is no absolute method to protect your identity, there are some protections that you can enact in order to minimize the chance of your identity getting stolen.
*Protect Your Social Security Number and Bank Card Numbers:
One of the most vital pieces of personal information is your social security number. With this number, identity thieves can apply for credit cards, create false accounts, attempt to access your accounts, and engage in other despicable behavior that will cause you nothing but stress, headaches, and money. As such, you should try to protect this number at all times.
If you are filling out an application or a form that requests your social security number, make sure that it is necessary to give it in order for the application to be processed. If your social security number is not mandatory, do not give it out.
If you have to give out your social security number, do so discreetly. It is not necessary to announce to the world or fill out paperwork in a public location in which thieves could easily see what you are writing.
Bank account numbers are the same way. Most deposit slips require you to write down your bank account number. Again, do not do this in front of a crowd. Be discrete and you will have a better chance of protecting your identity.
*Use A Cross Cut Shredder to Shred Mail:
Not all of your mail needs to be shredded. The advertisement from your local grocery store will not give identity thieves what they need to steal your identity. However, statements from your banks, bills, and other mail that contains your bank account information, account numbers, and other personal information should be passed through a cross cut paper shredder before being thrown away.
*Monitor Your Accounts On A Daily Basis:
Internet banking has made it easy for you to check your accounts. As such, check you accounts on a daily basis to insure that no unknown withdrawals or charges have been made to your accounts. If you have found something on your account of which you cannot verify, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to clear up any problems.
Remember, be discrete with your personal information, use a cross cut shredder to shred certain mail before your throw it away, and check your accounts (both deposit and credit) on a daily basis to make sure that no unauthorized activity is occurring.