Your credit score is a highly sensitive and valuable aspect of your credit history with infinite implications about your financial future. Your credit report begins at the age of 18 and details all of your credit inquiries and credit accounts. Building a viable credit score takes years and continuous on time payments, and your score can be destroyed in minutes if your identity is stolen, just ask anyone who has their masters in computer science online.
Identity theft is characterized by the National Crime Victimization Survey as:
- unauthorized attempted use or use of your credit cards (64.1%)
- unauthorized attempted use or use of other financial accounts (35%)
- unauthorized use of personal information to open new loans, accounts, or in the committing of other crimes. (14.2%)
Identity theft is a major concern that has affected 7% of households in the United States with each incident averaging in $4,930 in financial loss according to statisticbrain.com While the financial loss is substantial, it is dwarfed by the damage done to your credit report and several other implications of identity theft. With the gargantuan impact of identity theft, you should do everything possible to protect your identity and your financial future.
5 Steps to Prevent Identity Theft
1. Keep Personal Identification Information Personal
Without a shadow of a doubt, you should never give your personal information to anyone. If a company or someone posing as a company ever contacts you, you should never provide your personal information over the phone or through email. If you have a relationship with this company, they should already have your personal information. In addition, with the outbreak of identity theft, no reputable company will ever ask you to provide your personal information over the phone or by email.
2. Keep Virus Protection Software Up to Date
Your virus protection software is your second line of defense against identity theft; common sense if you’re first. Identity thieves will commonly use malware programs that are designed to capture your keystrokes and transmit the information back to them. By doing so, the virus program can capture your banking log-in information and everything else that you access on your computer. By keeping your virus protection software up to date, you will ensure that the virus protection software will be effective.
3. Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts
One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to keep a sharp eye on your credit report and financial statements. This will effectively catch any type of suspicious activity and stop it before it becomes even more of a problem.
4. Never Throw Away Documents Containing Personal Identification Information
Not all identity theft happens on the web. One way identity thieves get individual’s information is by “dumpster diving,” which entails looking through people’s trash to find sensitive information. To prevent this from happening, you should never put your financial statements or anything that has your personal information in the trash can. The better alternative is to shred the information.
5. Be Digitally Secure
When you choose your passwords or PINs, you should always choose numbers and words that people wouldn’t generally associate with you. You should never use the last four digits of your social security number or any other parts of your personal identification information. The following tips are designed to help you stay as digitally secure as possible.
- Never use the same passwords for all of your accounts.
- Never use birth dates, phone numbers, or sequenced numbers as your PIN or password.
- The most secure passwords include a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, be at least 8 characters long, and use special characters, such as !, #, $, etc.
- Never write your passwords down or store them on your computer.
Myself Stuart Clock I am a professional Guest blogger & author. I am writing for my blog and I’m trying to grow it by reaching out to the quality websites like entrepreneur.