Avoid Identity Theft Scams with 5 Steps
These days, it's easier than ever to acquire information. This can be a great thing—after all, you can now attend school online, when it would’ve been impossible not too long ago. The downside, however, is that it’s easier than ever for your personal information to be stolen. If you want to avoid scam artists and protect yourself, you may find it useful to follows the tips listed below.
- Invest in a Paper Shredder. If you’re like many Americans, you probably receive new credit card offers on a regular basis. Avoid the temptation to simply toss these in the trash; it’s much safer to put all unwanted documents containing your personal information through a paper shredder. These can be acquired rather inexpensively, and are well worth it in the long run.
- Use Complex Passwords for Personal Accounts. Sure, you may think that typing 12345 as your password is the path of least resistance—and certainly easier for you to remember down the road—but it’s also easier for scam artists to ascertain. It’s best to choose a more complex password that includes letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Monitor Your Credit. You can receive a copy of your credit report free on an annual basis from the three credit bureaus. Also, if you want to take a look at it on a more regular basis, free websites like CreditKarma.com can be a big help.
- Keep an Eye on Your Belongings. Crimes of opportunity occur when you leave your purse or wallet unattended. They contain valuable information about you that can be like liquid gold to a scam artist, so make sure, particularly when you’re out and about, that your personal belongings are in your field of vision at all times.
- Keep Your Personal Information Personal. Don’t give out passwords or other secure information to people you don’t know. This may seem obvious, but it’s easier to do than you think. Some scams work by sending you an email that appears to be from a company you do business with asking for personal information with a link they want you to click on. In order to check the legitimacy of this, navigate directly to the website rather than opening the link in the email.