Would you know if there were two of you? Identity theft is a growing problem but there are things that you can do to protect yourself.
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your consent – to make purchases, take out loans, get medical services – and more! Victims can end up with drained bank accounts, destroyed credit, and the enormous task of fixing the problem.
5 tips to protect yourself from identity theft
- Set up a schedule to review your credit card and bank statements – monthly, quarterly – and always have a ballpark in mind of your spending history
- Once you've reviewed your statements, make sure that you've shredded the paper documents that you no longer need (and keep them in a secure place while you do need them!) By shredding your bank and credit card statements, you can prevent thieves from “dumpster-diving” for the easy information.
- Set up a Google Alert for your name, business name, and other key identifiers (but not your account numbers). You will receive a listing of whenever your name appears in the internet.
- Limit the amount of personal information that you share on-line, in stores, and on the forms that you fill out. Ask why they need your information.
- Install and update anti-virus and malware protection software on your smartphone. Malware and viruses can access and steal personal information, which can lead to identity theft.
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