Never throw out any type of personal mail or documents with your name or address listed, also make sure that they do not have any of your personal information on them. One of the most easiest and common forms of identity theft is a thief going through your trash looking for this type of information. These documents could include: old credit card statements, government issued docs and letters, utility bills (hydro, water etc.) or any type of receipts with your name on them. The best step is to shred these documents before throwing them away. If you do not have a shredder, make sure you tear them up into small pieces.
Try to remove your mail from the mail box as soon as possible, especially it it is remotely located or not locked. Thieves are notorious to looking and stalking private and public mailboxes to get personal, discrete information. If you are going on holidays, or planning to be away from your home for a period of time, make sure you alert the local postal office to hold your mail for that period of time, or have it redirected to someone you know. You could also get a secure PO Box for increased security.
Social Security Numbers (SSN) are one of the main ways thieves steal your identity. It is your own private personal, digital fingerprint. So keep your (SNN) Social security number in a safe secure place. It should never be given out, the only exceptions being your employer, government departments and for credit purposes. It should never be given out online.
Be careful how you handle receipts. Do not leave them lying around when you get one from the ATM machine. If you use your credit card to pay for something, make sure you take the receipt with you as it contains vital private information that is useful for identity thieves. When dining out, be careful when you give your credit card to the food serving staff. There has been numerous cases where credit card identity has been stolen from established food outlets hiring unsavory individuals. When purchasing online, make sure it is an established known web site with recognizable secure payment methods. Ensure that the payment site has a https: attached to its domain name url.
Avoid giving out any type of personal information to unsolicited telephone callers. Even if they sound legitimate, and the information requested for does not seem that important. Get your name off of the junk mail and junk phone lists. This can also save you a lot of thus preventing any potential identity theft problems to occur.
Although all of these suggestions are primarily common sense, there are individuals who always tend to drop their guard thinking that it will never happen to them, until its too late.
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