Identity theft is today's number one crime-and technology just expands the criminal opportunities. Protecting your identity and financial assets from identity thieves and cyber-criminals requires consistency and discipline. These basic guidelines will go a long way toward protecting your identity.
Be very discerning when revealing any personal financial information, especially your social security number (SSN). Know who you are communicating with. You are only required to provide your SSN for income tax records, medical records, college records, loan applications and vehicle registration.
If your bank or the IRS is contacting you, they should already have your social security or account number.
Don't carry your social security card in your wallet.
Most ID theft uses information obtained via the trash or your mailbox. If you have a street-side mailbox, consider sending your bills and statements to a P.O. box.
Keep items with personal information in a safe place. Shred anything you don't need, such as bank statements and paycheck stubs (yearly), checking/share draft copies and credit card receipts (every 45 days), insurance forms, and credit card solicitations (immediately).
Order a free copy of your credit report from each credit reporting agency every year. Verify the accuracy of your credit report and any credit activity.
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