Identity theft is a natural outgrowth of the technological advancements society has made. Just as sure as people are able to manage their finances and make their purchases in ways completely unthinkable in the 1960s and 1970s, so too have the ways in which criminals have sought to steal from the public. Now, there are services a person can buy for $19-$30 per month to monitor and sometimes proactively protect a person’s finances. However, the author of this article believes the best way to safeguard oneself against identity theft is to do take ownership of the process yourself.
First off, every person must embrace the fact that identity theft is a reality and that protecting oneself requires adopting practices which may be unfamiliar and cumbersome but inasmuch as the practices become second nature they will protect your identify from theft. Here are the basic steps to do it yourself (DIY) identity theft protection:
1. Lock your credit with each of the three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. There will be a $3.00 fee to lock your credit with each bureau. With the lock in place no one will be able to open a line of credit, bank account, loan, or any financial transaction requiring a credit check. The bureaus will each provide you with a pin number which you should safe guard in a bank safe deposit box, home safe, or in electronic form on a computer as long as the data is encrypted to prevent anyone from accessing it without your permission. Search the web for “free password management software” and you’ll find the top rated programs.
Every time you will need to get a credit check you will go to the websites for each of the three credit bureaus and temporarily lift the credit freeze. This will require a $3.00 fee for each lift. With the freezes in place you will have gone a very long way to preventing anyone from misusing your identity.
2. Password Management. Use different passwords your online accounts. This is cumbersome but essential so that if identity thieves are able to obtain your e-mail and one password they will not be able to access any other accounts in your name. Many people use the same password for e-mail, bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc. so that obtaining one password may allow identity thieves free reign to your online accounts.
3. Access your online bank, credit card, and investment accounts 2-3 times a week. Regular access ensures that you will be able to spot any illegal activity in your account. Many people who suffer identity theft find out days or weeks after the fact. Being proactive will increase the chances that you can respond better in the event you do suffer a loss.
4. Avoid paying with personal checks. Use credit cards as they have excellent protections against illegal charges. Personal checks contain the bank routing number and checking account number along with your name and address. This is way too much information in the hands of identity thieves. If a check must be used then purchase a money order or cashier’s check so that the personal account information from your bank account is not used.
In summary, just as surely as we engage in commerce in ways never conceived of in the past we must also safeguard ourselves in ways never conceived of. Following these simple (but admittedly cumbersome) steps will protect your finances and do not compare to the nightmare and cost of fixing up personal finances after they have been ravaged by identity theft.
Guest articlew ritten by: Sidra, a well known writer is known for writing articles on security issues. Visit the website IdentityTheft.net/blog for better knowledge.
Related articles you might find interesting:
- Worried about using your credit card online?
- Top 50 passwords you shouldn’t use – and learn how to create a strong password!
- Orbicule’s Undercover Mac Theft Recovery System – Reinstall Necessary On Snow Leopard
- Barclaycard “Balance Transfer Sale” 2011
- New iPhone Worm Is “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…”