Unfortunately, no consumer can completely protect themselves from the sophisticated tactics identity thieves use to get their hands on sensitive personal and financial information. That’s why information that helps raise awareness about identity theft is important because being a victim of identity theft can be financially and emotionally devastating.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the following are factors to consider when it comes to identity theft protection:
- Keep your personal information secure offline. Consider limiting the personal documents you carry, and cross-shred documents that may contain personal or sensitive information, such as receipts, charge cards, and financial statements;
- Keep your personal information secure online. Among the behaviors you may want to consider when it comes to your personal information online, the FTC recommends that consumers avoid sharing passwords – even with friends and family – and suggests being extremely careful about the information you share on social networks.
- Secure your Social Security Number. Avoid carrying around your Social Security card, and if someone asks you to share your number or your child’s number, ask how it will be used, how it will be safeguarded, and why it is needed.
- Keep your devices secure. Before sharing your personal information over public WiFi, understand how your information will be protected. Always lock up your devices, and stay current on the anti-virus software you may have installed on your devices.