There are many ways in which your identity could be compromised. For instance, someone could get the password to your bank account from a public computer or copy information from a tax document left on your office desk. Therefore, it is important that you take a holistic approach to keeping your personal information secure.
Change Your Passwords
It is a good idea to change your account passwords every 30 to 90 days. If you use a password management service, make sure to change the password to that account every 30 to 90 days as well. Creating strong passwords is also a must, and you shouldn’t use words like password or a string of numbers such a 123456. Ideally, every password that you create will have a mix of numbers, letters and symbols. In addition to being difficult for a human to guess, it will be difficult for password cracking software to guess in a timely manner.
Don’t Give out Personal Information Online
The next time that you get an email claiming to be from your bank or from the IRS, be sure to scrutinize it carefully before taking action. It is important to know that the IRS will never contact you via email or by phone. Typically, your bank or credit card company will contact you through the mail if there is important information to convey.
Check Your Credit Reports Regularly
While checking your credit report won’t put a stop to identity theft, it can help you catch it in a timely manner. If you are concerned about threats to your identity, you can lock or freeze your credit report, which means that new accounts can’t be opened unless you are contacted directly.
If you have sensitive material that you keep in an office or in your home, you should make sure that those spaces are secure. A locksmith can install a variety of locks that can only be opened with a numeric code or after a retina or fingerprint scan. These tools make it less likely that an unauthorized person will enter those spaces and obtain information about you.
Although there is no way to prevent identity theft entirely, guarding your information can make it easier to stop it from happening. If you have been the victim of identity theft, don’t hesitate to contact your creditors, the credit monitoring agencies and the police in your area for help.