Identity theft occurs when your personal information is stolen and used for fraudulent purposes.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission claims that identity theft is quickly becoming the quickest growing crime in the United States. Victims spend an average of $1,500 and 175 hours getting their lives untangled from identity fraud. Unfortunately, we’re guilty of not worrying about it until it’s too late. Simple awareness along with these extra safeguarding measures will greatly decrease your chances of falling prey to identity theft.

Protect Your Mail

  • Pick up your mail daily
  • Place outgoing mail, bills and payments into a locked mailbox
  • Keep an eye out for your regular bills
  • Have your mail held by the post office when traveling
  • Promptly change your address with the post office when you move
  • Do not leave mail in unsecured locations

Protect Your Personal Items and Information

  • Carry only what’s necessary when you go out
  • Share your personal information with businesses on a “need to know” basis
  • Request your bank to leave your social security number and driver’s license number off of your checks
  • Instead of signing the back of your credit cards write “see ID”
  • Shred all personal and financial documents that you don’t need

Protect Your Online Accounts with Uncrackable Passwords

  • Don’t use consecutive keyboard combinations like qwerty or asdfg.
  • Avoid the use of dictionary words, slang, common misspellings or words spelled backwards.
  • Steer clear of using your name, your loved ones names, or your pets names.
  • Don’t use special dates, favorite colors or songs either.
  • Go to the trouble to use different passwords for each of your accounts.
  • Create at least 8-10 character passwords with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Try using strong passwords that are easy to remember, but difficult to guess. example: Iam:)2b46! (10 characters – I am happy to be 46!)
  • Get creative with short codes or phrases. example: 2B-or-Not_2b
  • Many sites have an indicator showing password strength – utilize this tool.

Identity thieves go to painstaking efforts to gather as much of your personal and/or financial information as possible. They’ll swipe your wallet, purse, smart phone or laptop, sift through your mail and your garbage, and hack into your devices to take advantage of you.

Don’t make it easy on identity thieves. Stay actively diligent in protecting your personal property and information.


Source: Zywave, Inc 

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