Identity Theft Protection

There’s so much bad new about identity theft, it can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed. But you’re not helpless. In fact, hidden within all that bad news is some good news about identity theft protection.

But first the bad news. One out of three victims says they know who stole their identity. What’s really shocking about that is that more than half of the time, they knew the perpetrator. That’s right; identity theft is usually the act of a co worker, neighbor, in-home employee, a friend or a family member.

Key Steps For Identity Theft Protection

Because the theft takes place at home or work, you have more control and are easily able to take the below steps for your identity theft protection plan.

  • Keep your personal information out of sight. That includes bank statements, Social Security cards, and credit card bills. Anything with your personal information or account numbers should be kept at home and locked up safely. If you don’t need it, shred it. If you have the option of using electronic statements or bill paying online, do it. Only 2 percent of identity theft occurs from someone using the internet.
  • Don’t leave mail in the mailbox. Pick up incoming mail promptly. Outgoing mail should be taken to the post office or a mail collection box. Consider a locking mailbox to protect your incoming mail. Better than any of these, rent a post office box.
  • Install firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software on your computer. Make sure to update it regularly. Protect your computer with passwords and PINS. The most secure passwords use upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters.
  • Don’t leave your laptop lying around at home, the office or at the airport. Encrypt any personal information.
  • Unless, you’ve initiated the contact, never give out personal information over the phone or by computer.
  • Don’t carry anything in your wallet that you don’t absolutely need. Voter registration cards, Social Security cards, credit cards, checkbooks should all be left at home and locked up in a safe.

Good News

In the event of a breach of security related to corporate or governmental records, you can still be protected from identity theft, by becoming a member of LifeLock. LifeLock will place fraud alerts on your records with the credit reporting bureaus, and automatically renew them every three months when they expire. If someone tries to open an account in your name or with your Social Security number, you’ll be notified.

Identity Theft Knowledge Center

What is Identity Theft?

Email Scams & Identity Theft

Financial Identity Theft

Could You Be a Victim of Identity Theft?

Identity Theft Resources

Federal Trade Commission

Better Business Bureau

National Check Fraud Center

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Department of Justice

IRS Identity Theft