Smart ways to avoid identity theft

In today’s digital world, we can do practically anything with a touch of a button—including accessing our important personal and financial transactions from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can ensure that you and your family are protected from identity theft by taking steps to safeguard your personal information.  

Here are some simple tips to minimize your exposure to identity theft:

Store your personal information in a safe place

Keep your bank statements, credit card reports, and checkbooks under lock and key. Use a shredder rather than the trash for all documents that display your personal information—such as bank account information, mailing address, and credit card receipts.

Monitor your credit card account activity

Make it a habit to look at your account statements on a regular basis so you can be aware of any suspicious activity. The sooner you spot irregular or fraudulent credit card charges, the sooner you can contact your credit card company to report them and request a new card. If you are used to getting your statements in the mail and you stop receiving them, be sure to contact your credit card company to inquire why to help ensure that your account has not been compromised.

Choose passwords that are not easily guessed

As tempting as it may be to use a password with familiar words, places, or numbers so that you won’t forget it, using your birthday, your name, your age, or even your spouse’s name can make your accounts more susceptible to identity theft. Never use your Social Security number as any part of a password, as this is an extremely personal number. Take the time to memorize a unique password for each online account you have, and do not share these with anyone.

Invest in trusted virus protection software for your computers

Protect yourself from online predators by installing software that can keep your information from being compromised. Virus protection software can also help protect your computer from being subject to a virus from spam e-mail. Also be sure to sign out of your online accounts, such as your e-mail, social media portals, and bank accounts, when you finish your browsing session.

 With a bit of extra planning, you can minimize your chances of having your identity stolen.

SLPC 25945 06/16

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