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Be Aware of the Identity Theft Traps

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Most identity thieves are targeting your social security number, your bank account, credit-card information and all the corresponding PINs and passwords. If an identity thief has targeted you, it is hard to prevent the crime. In any case, there's lots you can do to make it as hard as possible on them.

Keep the following tips in mind if you want to be certain you're as protected as you can be.

1. Home computer: A professional hacker won't have any problem accessing your data from a remote location. Never neglect installing software that protects your system from spyware and viruses. It's essential that you likewise have a firewall. \As well, identity theft software is becoming increasingly popular among people who are nervous about their privacy. A basic strategy is to use a strong password to protect your data. It should be at least eight to ten characters in length. You need to use a combination of letters and numbers. Make sure it is not too simple to figure out, such as your kid's name and birth date.

2. Garbage: If it is garbage to you, you're usually pretty confident no one else wants it. In any case, your garbage is a prime target of identity thieves, because it is often a goldmine of valuable information that can be used for fraudulent purposes. This even includes unsolicited credit-card applications, so be certain you shred everything before it goes out to the trash.

3. Mail Delivery: Most people don't have mailboxes that lock. But for anyone who wants your identifying information, the mailbox is a prime attraction. Just consider the amount of mail you receive that includes personal financial information. A thief can do a lot of damage with just your bank and credit-card statements.

4. Lockers: If you're serious about identity theft protection, any place you store your handbag or wallet needs to be locked securely. This means the locker at your fitness club or at your place of work. If you use your own lock instead of one provided by the facility, the thief won't have access to the extra key.

5. Handbag and wallet: Always be aware of and protect either of these two things. The purse or wallet of just about everyone has more than enough information for an identity thief to achieve his purposes. This means your bank card, checkbook and credit-cards, in addition to the personal identification numbers you have stored (which you're not supposed to).

6. Personal information: Be cautious of giving out any personal details. It's easy to disguise a request for your personal information as coming from a legitimate organization, but every so often it is really someone just posing as your bank or credit-card customer service representative. This can happen either over the phone or on the internet. Sometimes it is just too automatic to provide personal details in these situations.

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