What can you do to protect your identity and your wealth? In this article I will outline the 5 Top Tips that you can use to protect your identity and protect your wealth. How can protecting your identity be accomplished today with so many people trying to access your information?
Always protect your passwords from prying eyes. If you are using an ATM/ bank machine or point of sale machine cover the pin pad with your hand or purse to prevent others from seeing the numbers you are pressing. Make your password something memorable but not simple to figure out; don’t use your birthday or social security number. A combination of numbers and letters work best for your passwords. For example you could use “pass12word” or “34johndoe” the combination makes it a strong password from an encryption (techie word for secure) stand point and tough for someone to figure out. Never keep your passwords with your credit/debit cards if you must write it down don’t leave the note lying around where people can find it.
2. Bills and Statements
Open your bills, credit card and bank statements every month when they arrive. Read each of the items listed on the statements and make sure you know what the items are. If you have a question call the bank or company and ask them to help you understand what the item or charge is. This is important; if you catch unknown or fraudulent charges early you can often stop the problem before it gets out of hand. Make sure you get all of your bills and statements each and every month, some thieves will prey on your mail to get information about you. You can apply to get electronic bills from most banks, utilities, phone companies and credit card companies this is good choice for people who want to limit the amount of mail coming in or if you are planning to move, switching to electronic billing will ensure you receive all of your statements. If you decide to get electronic billing set up a separate email address that you use only for statements and bills and nothing else. This makes it harder for thieves to find your statements and get your information.
3. Shred It
When you dispose of personal documents like bank statements or credit card bills and offers make sure you shred the paperwork. Get a good cross-cut or confetti type shredder they are inexpensive especially when compared to getting your identity back. Most of the new style shredders will also dispose of plastic materials, this means you can now shred old credit cards and data CD’s that may have personal information on them.
4. Record Keeping
Keep a record of you credit cards and all of your identification in a safe place. Keep a photo copy of your identification and credit cards in a secure location that is not known to others. This way if you should lose your wallet or have your wallet stolen you have a copy of the information so you can quickly contact your bank, credit card companies and the government agencies to cancel the credit cards and get your identification back.
5. Computers and Social Media
This has become the thieves’ favorite place to steal your identity. Phishing scams are the most common way of stealing your information. If you don’t know the person sending you the request for your information or the return email address doesn’t match the sender email it is probably a scam. Protect your online identity, do not put too much information on your social network never list your phone number, your full birthday or your home address. And never announce that you are going on a long vacation or trip, tell your online friends about it when you get back.