Although it is a massive number, the estimate is that approximately ten million people will be affected by identity theft this year. Given that information is such an important part of our society these days, it is not a complete surprise. Most people will have personal details listed on government and business databases.
They will shop online or via the telephone. Information they have given out will be sent out in letters that may go astray. For unscrupulous people, many of these instances are an ideal opportunity to take advantage of people that don't look after their personal details. This article will give you six ways that you can do this and prevent identity theft happening to you. If you are throwing out any mail or documents, check that they do not have any of your personal details on them.
A common form of acquiring identity is to go through someones trash looking for this type of information. This could include any government letters, credit card statements, utility bills or receipts. You should shred these type of documents before throwing them away. If you don't have a shredder then tear them up into many pieces. Don't leave your mail in the mail box for a long time. Again, opportunistic thieves may go through your mail box for any letters that give away personal information.
You could even get a PO Box for increased security but this may be a cumbersome way to get your daily mail. If you go on vacation then ask the postal service to hold your mail or redirect it to a trustworthy location while you are away. Social security numbers are a principal way in which thieves will steal your identity. Keep your Social security number in a safe place, like a safe or such like. You don't need to carry it on you and should be wary about who you give the number out to.
Any receipts or bills that you get on your day to day dealing should be left. Many people leave things like ATM transaction records lying around. Don't do this. Keep them and destroy them by shredding if you don't want them. Don't give any personal details to cold calling telephone people. They may sound legitimate but this is no guarantee that they are legitimate.
Better still, ask them who they are, the company they are calling on behalf of and the reason for the call. Then phone back the company on a verified number and ask about the person and reason for calling. This should prove the legitimacy of the call and you may want to give the information they asked for away then.
Get rid of the junk mail. You don't want any of your information, even your name and address, on mail that you have no time or need for. Respond to unwanted junk mail by asking to have your name removed from the mailing list.
They are obliged to remove your name by law and you should not have tonnes of meaningless junk mail in your mail box. Whilst most of these suggestions are common sense and easy to do, people tend to drop their guard from time to time. Either they think identity theft won't happen to them or they get a little disorganized. The best bet is to make these suggestions into daily habits that become automatic behavior. Thus you give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding being a victim of identity theft.
Get more advice on protection from identity theft at http://www.identitytheftsentry.com . Learn about phishing and other common identity theft scams.