Three Quick Identity Theft Tips

Helpful Hints to Reduce Damage Done by Identity Theft

Preventing identity theft requires a complex approach. The following tips will help you avoid identity theft by hindering the ability for criminals to take advantage of you in the event you lose your driver’s license, wallet, or checkbook.

Initials Make Sense

When you order your next box of checks, consider having just your first and middle initials printed on your checks instead of your entire name. This way, if you lose your checks and a criminal wants to use them, he or she will not know how you sign your name, so they will probably sign just the initials listed on your checks. You should make sure that you always sign your name. Then if your checks get stolen it will be obvious if someone is using them if there are any checks that are signed with your initials. And whatever you do, don’t sign any checks in advance for convenience sake. If someone steals your checkbook, they can easily fill in any amount with their own name and cash it. Only sign your checks after you have filled them out.

A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words (And "Stop Thief!" Are Two of Them)

On all of your credit cards, it is a good idea to write “Photo ID Required” (in addition to your signature) -- that way if someone steals your credit card they will probably not be able to use it. Of course, you will have to show your driver’s license each time you make a purchase, but it is worth that small inconvenience if it reduces your risk of identity theft. There are times, however, when the sales clerk doesn’t look at the signature, but those instances are fortunately becoming less frequent. I have noticed in recent months that when I use my debit card I am frequently asked to show ID. I can tolerate the inconvenience because I know that it will be very difficult for a criminal to use my debit card if my purse is lost or stolen.

Keep Copies of Everything

A good preventative measure for minimizing any damage done if you do lose your wallet is to photocopy everything that you keep in your wallet. Photocopy both the front and back sides of all your credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards, and anything else you regularly carry in your wallet. You can reduce an identity theft criminal’s chances of doing much harm because you can quickly refer to your photocopies to find your credit card companies’ phone numbers and call them up.

The above suggestions to reduce your risk of identity theft are by no means comprehensive, but they are very useful in giving you an advantage over identity theft criminals.

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