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What is Identity Theft Security?

Identity theft is a growing problem in the United States, one that everyone should be aware of. To avoid becoming a victim, start thinking about identity theft security and take steps to keep your identity safe.

Know the risks

According to the Federal Trade Commission, 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

Once thieves get a hold of your identity, they can cause all sorts of damage. Thieves can make purchases using your existing accounts. Some may open new lines of credit in your name. They can rent homes, buy real estate or make other investments with your identity.

To avoid this, invest time in managing your financial records. Keep identification you do not need to have on you, such as your passport, tucked away. Most importantly, report any instances of identity theft to your lenders, the local police and to the FTC.

Making everyday changes

Credit Card in Wallet

The most effective way of minimizing these risks is to make changes to your everyday lifestyle. To help prevent identity theft, consider the following:

  • Be alert when handing your credit card information to someone for payment. Make sure they don't slide it through a secondary device or copy the information down on paper.
  • Keep your identity documents, including your passport, driver's license, social security card and credit cards close to you or leave them at home.
  • Check bank statements, credit card statements and receipts immediately to ensure they're valid and without additional charges you didn't authorize.
  • Only use secured websites to make purchases online. Know who you are buying from before you input information online.
  • Shred all documents before throwing them away. Dumpster diving or trash picking is still a common way for thieves to steal your information.

Be vigilant about keeping your identity to yourself. Don't give your information to just anyone. Work to prevent identity theft from affecting you.

Monitor credit reports

Get copies of your credit reports and verify that the information on the reports is accurate. Look for addresses that aren't yours, accounts you didn't open, inquiries you didn't authorize and changes to your name. Report these to the credit bureaus immediately.

You may also wish to put a security freeze on your credit reports at each of the three credit bureaus. This will enable you to lock your credit, making it impossible for thieves to open a new line of credit using your identification.

Now that you know more about identity theft security, get your credit report & score.
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This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should always seek the advice of a legal or financial professional before making legal or financial decisions.

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