How can you protect yourself from identity theft?

Q&A: Identity Protection?


QUESTION: How can you protect yourself from identity theft?

ANSWER: According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Justice, about 1.6 million households experience theft of existing accounts other than a credit card (such as a banking account), and 1.1 million households discover misuse of personal information (such as their social security number) annually. Here are some important tips for keeping your information safe and sound:

Just the facts – Rather than give unnecessary information (like your date of birth and income level) when you fill out things like warranty cards or supermarket club cards, start sharing only what’s really necessary in every situation.

Navigating the net – Never post your address or your full date of birth on any social networking sites because both are pieces of information needed to steal your identity. Also, when applying for a job, thoroughly investigate companies before you submit your resume and check the privacy policies of any online job boards to make sure they won’t sell your information.

Number no-nos – Never keep your Social Security number in your wallet, glove compartment, or any other easy-to-access place. Also, never have it printed on your checks or use it as your password. Finally, if you use an online job site, never give a potential employer your Social Security number until they are ready to hire you.

Shed it – When you are ready to get rid of old documents that contain important information, make sure you shred them.

The bottom line is this: When it comes to your personal information, share it on a need-to-know basis only!