First, let me state that there’s a lot of things that you can do to lessen your risk of identity theft, but you may not be able to 100% prevent it.   Just like with material things, if a thief really wants your information, they will find a way to get it.  Also, just like with material things, if you take preventive measures, it’s also somewhat likely that a thief will move on to an easier target.


Guard your information!

  1. First thing, guard your name, address and social security number just as you would your valuable jewelry.  Don’t leave wallets, purses, etc in plain sight for thieves to take. 
  2. Shred all credit card offers that come in the mail.  Also shred all other financial information that is no longer used such as out of date tax returns, old bank statements, old copies of checks, etc.
  3. Opt out of getting credit card offers in the mail at
  4. Use a locked safe or a safety deposit box at a bank for the important papers you need.


Watch where you use your credit card

  1. Keep track of the use of your credit/debit cards.  If you notice charges at an unknown place, investigate them immediately.
  2. Look for odd or unusual looking equipment at high traffic card swipers, such as gas pumps, ATMS, etc.  They could have been equipped with a card skimmer designed to obtain your information with each swipe of a card.
  3. Use a card with a low credit limit on internet shopping sites.  If you card number is stolen, it will limit the damage a thief can do with that particular card.


Keep your computer up to date

  1. Keep your antivirus/malware software up to date
  2. Notice the behavior of your computer.  If it acts sluggish, one culprit could be malware on your computer.
  3. Use only secure shopping sites, and secure connections to conduct financial transactions.

About the Author: Jolynn Craig

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