As you probably know by now, identity theft is generally considered to be the fastest-growing crime in the country. Moreover, because dealing with identity theft is such a headache after-the-fact, it’s to your benefit to focus on ways to avoid becoming a victimin the first place. That being the case, there are a couple of small things you can do to boost the odds in your favor, two of which are listed here:
Invest in a good shredder
Someone once said that the best offense is a good defense. Here, one of the first steps in identity theft defense is minimizing the amount of personal information that is out there about you. This, naturally, involves shredding documents that have any personal identifying information on them: utility bills, credit card offers, bank account statements, etc. Granted, it’s extra work, but the days when you could just discard these items by tossing them in the trash are long gone. Dumpster-diving is nothing to a determined criminal. The hope is that shredding will make the task of getting your personal information far more trouble than its worth.
Montior your credit
Since credit card fraud is the most common form of identity theft, you really need to pay attention to what’s going on with your credit. To that end, you should regularly monitor your credit not just by reviewing statements, but also by getting a free copy of your credit report via the three major credit-reporting agencies. You’re allowed to get one free copy of your credit report per year from each of the agencies; doing the math, that means you can obtain a new credit history for review purposes every four months.
Simply put, you have to be proactive when it comes to identity theft. That means taking action, like shredding, to minimize the amount of availabe info about you that the public can get its hands on. Moreover, you can’t wait until a red flag pops up to learn that there’s a problem; you have to be actively looking for potential problems and issues, such as monitoring your credit report.