The crime of identity theft is becoming more and more common every day, and in fact is said to be the largest growing crime of this century. As a result, protecting your identity and your personal information has never been more important than it is today and will continue to be in the future. In the past, people have been far too free with giving out their personal information or being aware of how and where their personal information is being used, but with reports of identity theft increasing every day, there are steps you should be taking, starting today, to lessen the chances that you will be an easy target for this crime. |
One thing you may wish to consider is getting an unlisted or unpublished telephone number. While many people overlook this very simple procedure, which is also extremely inexpensive, you must realize that the phone company makes a bundle of money each year by selling your customer information (even including your calling records) to other companies, which may include identity thieves. Think about it – your listing in your local phone book lists your phone number and your street address. If being unlisted in the phone book causes you heartburn, you may want to check with your phone company to see if just your name and phone number could be listed without your address.
Many people have diverted all their financial statements and credit card statements to a PO box or a mailbox outlet instead of having the mail sent to their home. Although many credit card companies don't like to send mail to a PO box, if you have established accounts in good standing and explain to the credit card issuer that this is being done to help prevent identity theft, they should not have a problem with it. This step safeguards your information from having thieves steal credit card and bank statements out of your mailbox before you get home from work.
If you pay your bills by mail, always mail the payments directly from the post office. Never put the stamped envelopes in your home mailbox with the flag up for the postman to take when he makes his rounds. This will eliminate the chances that these payments will be stolen out of your mailbox by identity thieves before the postman arrives. Even better, if you have a computer and high-speed Internet access with good anti-virus and anti-spyware software that is up to date, most banks are offering the opportunity to pay bills online at no charge for this service, so you will also save yourself the cost of the stamps when making your bill payments.
Note that these last two steps are focused on the area of never putting things containing your personal information in a place that is very easily accessible such as your mailbox, where they can easily be stolen.
Never put your phone number and never EVER put your social security number on your checks. Some stores say they require at least your phone number, but most businesses run their checks through an electronic verification process anyway, so having your phone number is not required. Your social security number is NEVER required and you should never provide it on your checks. If a business insists that your phone number or your social security number be on your checks, you may want to consider finding a different place to do business. For more insights and additional information about Identity Theft Protection Tips please visit our web site at http://www.idtheftprotectiontips.com
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