5 Best Practices for Identity Protection

By Sam Feeder , last updated December 2, 2011

Knowing the best practices for identity protection will help keep your personal information and your bank accounts safe from identity thieves. While this may not seem like a real threat to you, around 3 million Americans have their identities stolen every year, businesses are constantly scammed and the tally of items and monies stolen through identity theft is topping 52 billion dollars per year. These are huge numbers, and with the growing frequency of how often they are happening, the chances of you having your own identity stolen is actually pretty high. So check out the 5 best practicies for identity protection listed below so you can safeguard yourself from thieves as best as possible.

Don't Carry Passwords on You

Many people have taken to carrying password and codes on them in their wallets or purses or even in their cell phones, so they have easy access to them and don't have to remember all of the many passwords they need during the day. While this is definitely convenient, you are asking for trouble, as it will be laughably easy for thieves to access your bank account or personal information with these codes in their possession. So try your hand at memorizing these codes or just have three or four of them you commit to memory, so that you can try all of them if you can't remember.

Protect Your Social Security Number

Your social security number is undoubtedly something that you have to protect as much as your bank access code, as this will give thieves a huge range of ways that they could mess with your identity. So don't carry a social security card, meaning this will have to be yet another number you committ to memory. Don't enter your social security number into online websites unless it's absolutely necessary and you trust the secure website. Don't include it on resumes or documents you send out to strangers, as this can fall into the wrong hands. If someone asks for your social security number, this is a good sign that they may be trying to steal your identity.

Shred Your Mail and Protect Your Email

Identity thieves will do whatever they can to get to your personal information, so you will have to safeguard your correspondence as well. When you are done with mail, like bills and other documents regarding personal information, you will need to destroy it. The best way to do that is to buy a cheap shredder and just shred everything when you throw it out, as thieves have been known to go through trash to access personal info. Make sure your email is also safeguarded with a good password that nobody knows, as a lot of personal information will be available to thieves in this account as well.

Don't Enter Your Personal Information into Random Websites

Only enter your personal or account information into websites that you know and trust. These should be sites that you have shopped at before or have trustworthy brand names where you are buying items. Other sites, which are not secure, can leave your information vulnerable to thieves.

Check Your Accounts and Credit

Keep track of the charges on your bank and credit card account regularly so that you know if there are any charges you didn't make. Checking your credit and credit score regularly is also a good idea, to make sure that someone isn't using your name and running up huge amounts of debt through it. Identity theft, and the charges that often come along with it, can rack up quickly. If you are on top of your credit information you will catch the theft early in the process, and before it gets much worse.

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