Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. The one thing that identity thieves are looking for in all of their victims has nothing to do with age or what you do for a living, they are looking for easy marks. If you understand identity theft protection you can make yourself a much more difficult target and increase the chances that a thief will move on to easier prey.
Guard your social security number. Don’t carry your card in your wallet. If that wallet were to get lost or stolen, it is easy to cancel your credit cards, but you can’t just cancel your social security number. Protect from identity theft by only giving your social security number away if absolutely necessary. Ask what they need it for and if another number will do.
Look out for scams. Never give personal information away through an unsolicited phone call or email. Phishing emails can be made to look like they are from an established company and ask you for account or order information. If you suspect that it may be legitimate, contact the company directly. You never know who is really on the other end when you get a phone call asking for donations or trying to sell you something. It is best to say “no, thank you” and hang up.
Be careful shopping online. Protect from identity theft by using only reputable sites and secure connections. If you are unsure about a site, do some research to see what kind of an experience other customers had. Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Some fraudulent sites claim to offer goods or services just to get you to enter your credit card information. Don’t enter any personal information on a public computer or public wi-fi connection.
Use secure passwords. Passwords are meant to be a wall of protection for all of your online accounts. Make sure that yours are long, complex and unique. Using a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols can help protect from identity theft.
Monitor your credit report. Often the first signs of ID theft show up on your credit report. Monitor it on a regular basis to detect theft early.