Start taking steps to keep all of that from ending up on your credit report and preventing you from getting the jobs, loans, credit cards and housing that you want.
Watch Out For Imposters
Be suspicious of anything or anyone asking about you, your family, your colleagues, or any other private information. Treat your personal information like cash. Don’t leave it lying around and don’t send in email. Shred physical documents that contain personal information and when disposing of devices or drives wipe and overwrite all memory.
Keep Your Browser Secure
Look for a lock icon on the status bar and a website that begins with https before you send personal or financial information online. Also don’t use insecure Wi-Fi. It could let others access your computer and information. Don’t share or reuse your passwords and don’t write them down where others can see them. When logging in don’t use the “Remember Me” function and be sure to log out of all accounts and close your browser when you’re finished.
Social Networking Sites
Don’t over share on social networking sites. What you post online could be used to answer challenge questions on your accounts to get access to your money and personal information. Someone could even change the passwords on your account so you couldn’t get in anymore. Keep your pages private and don’t post personal information on public sites. Use anti- virus and anti- spyware software, firewalls, and email filters on personal devices. Avoid phishing emails and don’t click on ads or download files from sources you can’t trust.
Social Security Number
Don’t give out your social security number to just anyone. When paying for something online use your credit card instead of your debit card so you can be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act in case some steals your card information. Review financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to your financial institutions. Request your free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year. You may want to stagger when you get each one so that you have the most up to date information every few months.
Watch for clues that someone has stolen your information and take steps immediately to fix them. While these tips won’t guarantee that your identity will never be stolen, they do go a long way in preventing your information from falling into the wrong hands and prevention is protection.