Tips to protecting yourself against identity theft
Identity theft is a growing concern around the world. If your credit card number falls into the wrong hands, your bank account could be wiped clean without you even noticing. If your Social Security Number (SSN) is stolen, the results can be even more devastating.
If an identity thief gets a hold of your SSN, they can use it to gain other personal information about you. Equipped with this information, they can fraudulently open credit cards in your name—spending to the limit on each one. You may not even realize that any of this has happened until you notice that your credit rating has suddenly dropped or you begin receiving harassing phone calls from creditors.
An identity thief can also illegitimately file taxes on your behalf and secure your refund. Here again, you may not discover this infraction until you attempt to file your taxes.
Today we provide some basic ways to help keep your personal information safe:
- Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. If your wallet is misplaced or stolen, and this card is inside, the results can be disastrous. Instead, keep it in a safe, locked place.
- Never enter your SSN or credit card information on an unsecured website. Always look for the green lock icon to check that the site is secure.
- If there is any personal data listed on bank statements or other official documents you receive in the mail, be sure to shred them before recycling.
- Be extremely wary about giving your Social Security Number to someone who calls or emails you, claiming to have a legitimate need for it. Scammers frequently attack unsuspecting victims in this way.
Identity theft is a scary prospect. Taking smart, defensive action to protect your information is key.