It is an unfortunate statistic that many millions of Americans have their identities stolen every year. Not many of us think about identity theft until it happens to us. The fallout of fraud can be significant, from a hurt credit report to huge expenses to time spent verifying your correct information. The best thing you can do now is to prevent identity theft. Take a look at the top practices to follow.
Shred identity papers – Any time you get a bank statement or a credit offer through the mail and you do not want to store these papers away, shred them. Some criminals will look through garbage to find precious details that can then be used to open accounts and access funds.
Use encryption tools on your computer – Install a firewall on your personal computer network, make sure you have a password-protected wireless system at home, and update your passwords often with hard-to-guess keywords.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi – You never know how secure public Wi-Fi is, and many hackers have now learned how to access data from users on the network. If you don’t know the public Wi-Fi connection is secure and encrypted, it’s best not to use it at all.
Check your credit report often – While this tip doesn’t prevent identity theft, it does help to spot any mistakes or potential red flags early on. Catching these on your report allow you to quickly correct them and reach the agencies directly for guidance on how to resolve an issue of fraud.