Identity theft is rampant in this modern age. Victims can spend months or even years cleaning up the mess caused by their identity being compromised. Scammers steal personal information for many purposes, including applying for credit or loans, opening bank accounts, going on shopping excursions, and more. It may be months or years before an identity theft victim becomes aware of the activity, in which case you’ll need an experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyer by your side.
In order to help prevent identity theft from affecting your life, take note of the following eight steps that prevent the likelihood of being a victim of this crime.
1. Do not carry all your cards and identifications with you at all times
If you rarely use a credit card, or identity verification piece, do not carry it everywhere you go. Limit what you carry in your wallet or purse to the bare essentials, and store what you don’t need readily available in a secure location and out of harm’s way.
2. Change your passwords regularly
In this modern cyberage, hackers are everywhere. By changing your passwords regularly, and by having different passwords for every account in your name, you will elude the identity-stealing criminals.
3. Keep your personal records safe and secure
Do not automatically assume that your personal records are safe. If you employ outside help or live with others, make sure your information and valuable cards are safe and locked away. This includes shredding sensitive documents, never leaving receipts lying around, depositing outgoing mail at the post office, and more. It could be your roommate’s friend who has an affinity for identity theft, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
4. Protect your Social Security Number and your family’s
While it may be a given for you to protect your Social Security Card, do not forget to safeguard your children’s as well. You’ll want to regularly check with a few nationwide credit reporting agencies to be sure that your child’s social security number has not been used without your consent.
5. Respond quickly in the event of a data breach
If a company you do business with informs you of a data breach, it is best to get in contact with them and ensure that your information is still safe. Also, be sure to confirm that the letter or notice you received about the breach was credible, and not a scam.
6. Watch your purse or wallet
While it may seem outdated, many identity theft crimes still happen the old-fashioned way. Be careful when you are out in public, and never leave your wallet or purse unattended at work or in other public settings. For instance, you should not hang your purse on the back of a chair or place your wallet on the table while you are at a restaurant. In doing so, you are making the thief’s job far too easy.
7. Guard against telephone scams
If you receive a call from someone asking you to provide personal information, err on the side of caution. Confirm that the party is legitimate and trustworthy before you give out anything, and also make sure that they absolutely need the information they are requesting. Nowadays, major credit cards do not call to request personal information, but scammers do.
8. Protect your digitized information
Surfing the web can become dangerous without the proper software protection. Don’t download files from sources that are not trustworthy and make sure to utilize safety assets such as firewall and other virus protection programs. It is also a good habit not to store your passwords, even on a computer you use often.
If you have questions regarding identity theft or feel you may be a victim, we invite you to call and speak with an experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyer at Kelley & Fulton today.