More Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

How to Prevent Identity Theft at Home

All forms of fraud, including identity theft, cost consumers over $1 billion a year. Nope, that's not a number I pulled out of a hat. That's a fact according to the Federal Trade Commission. In fact, many sources consider identity theft to be one of the fastest-growing crimes. If you want to prevent identity theft, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Handle Paper Properly

Keep a close eye on your paper documents and be very careful whenever discarding them. Sensitive documents such as credit card statements, home mortgage paperwork, and insurance documents should be discarded using a cross-cut or diamond-cut paper shredder. Simply ripping the sheet of paper four times will not be sufficient. Make the investment in a paper shredder if you really want to prevent identity theft.

Paper Isn't Just Mail

Think it's just the mail or important files you need to worry about? Guess again. Another paper document that you need to be careful about is your paper checks.

Make sure that you do not give a paper check to just anyone. Paper checks contain sensitive information, such as your home address and bank account number. These small pieces of information may be put together to steal your identity from other sources.

If you need to send a payment to a person and you don't want them having your account and routing numbers, buy a money order from the United States Postal Service. Money orders typically cost less than one dollar, and they’re a great option when you prefer not to give someone a check.

Identity Theft and Online Shopping

Another way to prevent identity theft is to be very careful whenever you use your credit card online. Shopping online is a great convenience, especially during the busy holiday season, but you should avoid using your credit card on amateur websites.

If the website doesn’t appear to be professional, then do not buy from that particular website. You could probably find the same product on a more reputable website for a similar price. Even if the site doesn't steal your information, the technology might not be secure enough to prevent prying eyes from doing so.

Keep the above in mind if you want to prevent identity theft. After all, when it comes to this consistently-growing crime, you can never be too safe.

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