Everyone needs to work to prevent identity theft from happening to them. Any time personal information is taken from someone, it is not just ruined credit that they need to worry about. Innocent individuals have been charged with crimes they did not do because others committed them under their names. Disproving these crimes can be difficult.
Reversing the damage can take a very long time and this is why I want to help you focus on how to prevent Identity Theft. That is why it is best to keep it from happening in the first place. It is hard to guard all information all of the time, but knowing what to do can significantly reduce the chances.
The first step in preventing identity theft is to never disclose a social security number. This is a very important personal identifier and can make theft easy for a thief. If anyone calls via telephone, stating that they are from a particular organization and that the entire social security number needs verified, chances are it is fraud. Most organizations only verify the last 4 digits when they are called. They do not call.
This number should also not be given over the Internet, even if doing so is believed to be safe. If applying for credit cards or similar, the site should have https in the address bar rather than http. This shows that the site is secure and it should be one that a person knows is trusted. The same rules apply to any account numbers. Also have an anti-virus software on the computer to prevent hackers from accessing the computer.
If bills are missing from month-to-month, contact the creditor and ask if they are mailing out statements. Missing bills could be a sign of mail theft and a lot of data can be obtained from a simple bill.
When personal data is present on a form, tear it up if it is not needed later. Never throw away anything that can benefit a thief without tearing it or shredding it first. If something must be kept, a fireproof safe, file cabinet, or lock box can prove to be beneficial.
And individuals should be mindful of what are called skimmers on swipe ATM machines and should also not allow debit and credit cards to go out of their sight when possible. If an ATM slot looks strange, do not use it and try to watch all transactions in stores and restaurants.
Last but not least, credit reports need to be evaluated annually in order to prevent identity theft. Strange activity can be seen and stopped before it becomes a problem. A thief can be stopped quickly and it is possible for them to be caught so that they can never do it again. This is a way to prevent identity theft from happening to others.