Monday, January 25, 2016

Don't Become the Next Identity Theft Victim

Whether you have some extra money to play with or funds are very tight these days, the one thing you don’t need coming into your life is identity theft.

Unfortunately, countless Americans end up finding themselves victims of identity theft. When that happens, their worlds can be turned upside down, leaving their financial lives in precarious situations.

With that in mind, there are ways you can lessen the odds that you and/or a loved one will become a victim of identity theft, allowing you to sleep a little better at night and not worry about your financial future.

Be Cautious and Be Smart
In order to stay one step ahead of identity theft criminals, remember these tips:
·         Loose lips sink ships – Be very careful when it comes to giving out personal information such as credit card numbers, PINS, Social Security account information and other such sensitive information. It just takes one misstep to throw your life into financial upheaval, sometimes a problem so bad that it can be hard to financially recover from. Even though you likely trust family members and others very close to you, be just as careful giving them any personal account information. While they’re likely not going to be malicious with it, they could have the data on a piece of paper etc. and lose it or have it stolen just as easily as you could;

·         Educate yourself – It is also important to educate yourself on how to protect your important data, what thieves look for, and what the financial implications of losing just one credit card or other important personal item can be. You can use sites such as or others like them to learn all you need to know about identity theft and why you need to avoid it at all costs. When you’re better educated about the ramifications from identity theft, you are better prepared to not only recover from it should it happen to you, but also better prevent it from happening in the first place;

·         Avoid leaving a trail – One of the worst things you can do is leaving a paper trail for the entire world to see. Keep in mind that identity thieves will oftentimes “pay” others to find out information about you. For example, say you take your credit card receipts (including those that have a copy of your signature on them from a restaurant etc.) and just dump them in the outdoor trash can, not having properly shredded them. Someone comes along (perhaps a homeless person) and digs them out of the trash bag, then passes them on to an identity thief. In return, the thief pays off the person who gave them the financial information. Now financial data that you didn’t want anyone else to have is in the hands of someone with ill intent towards you;

·         Don’t fall for scams – Another ploy to keep an eye out for is a financial scam. If you get a call, email or letter from someone (oftentimes they will pose as a business you are familiar with) claiming to represent this or that business, do not give out personal information like a Social Security number, PIN etc. Always make sure you can properly identify any entity asking for personal details about your finances, allowing you to avoid falling into a trap.

With all there is to lose in becoming an identity theft victim, practice sound financial decisions when it comes to your personal information.

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