You can’t turn around anymore without someone offering you security systems information. There is a good reason for this – identity theft has reached epidemic levels today and at every moment you are at risk that someone will use your identity for something you didn’t intend. This happens whether you have good credit or bad. There is a thriving market for identities of all types and for all purposes and it damages us all as credit card and finance companies pass as many of those losses as they can on to the rest of us.
The fact is, though, that if you don’t take the right precautions, these identity theft protection companies can’t really help you that much. Many consumer protection experts consider them a waste of money and for most people that is exactly what the plans are. Far more important than some protection plan is that you start taking steps to make sure you don’t leave your identity lying out there for grabs.
Here are some tips on how you can accomplish that.
The first step you should take before any other is to stop carrying all your identifying information in one place. What a gift it is for a pick pocket to find your name address and SOCIAL SECURITY CARD just sitting there in your pocket. It is almost unbelievable in this day and age that people would keep their social security card in their wallet, but it happens all the time.
It is definitely convenient if you need the card, but 99.999% of the time, you do not need your social security card with you.
A second step you should take to protect your identity is to go right away and purchase a good crosscut shredder that will handle both paper and plastic cards. In today’s world you do not need to be keeping paper copies of credit card statements and bills. Get a scanner and scan them in to your computer and shred those statements.
Identity thieves go through peoples’ trash cans to find those types of documents and it doesn’t take much for them to go to the next phase of stealing your identity.
Third, stop carrying all of your credit cards and checkbooks around with you. Don’t ever put all of your cards in your wallet at the same time. If you lose your wallet with only one card or none it, then stealing your identity is much more difficult. The possible damage from misplacing your checkbook is obvious.
Fourth, change all of your financial statements and bills that you can to online or email statements. Cut out having your personal information sit in a mailbox in front of your house all day while you are gone.
Fifth, be sure to have solid antivirus and antimalware protection on your computer. In several of the above steps you have been encouraged to try to go to paperless billing. That is all a waste of time if you leave your computer unprotected.
These are simple steps, but they are steps so important that if you don’t take them any security systems information policy you might be relying on is practically worthless. If you know anyone who has had their identity stolen, you know how stressful and devastating it can be. You can prevent it from happening to you with some simple precautions.
One of the owners of a prominent identity protection company is fond of throwing out his social security number during ads. The funny thing is that many people have used that social security number for a variety of purposes! I’m sure that his company does provide some level of protection, but a few simple precautions can save you the ongoing expense and trouble.