How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft | 47 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

by RJ

in Random

There is no service you can subscribe to or magic button to press to protect yourself from identity theft. Protecting  your identity is a choice you need to make on a daily basis. Following are 47 ways to get started…

47 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

  1. Use a cross cut shredder. Shred anything you’re about to throw out with your personal information on it. Especially, anything with your social security number and any applications (insurance, credit cards, phone, cable etc…).
  2. Choose hard passwords and PIN #’s. If your pin number is your birthday or your password is something as simple as your middle name and birthday, change it immediately. There are a couple of Open Source options for password management, such as KeePass for Windows and KeyChain for Mac. Last, don’t choose similar passwords for your banking accounts. If a hacker has one, he has them all.
  3. Have an emergency card. Have one card in which you rarely use and store outside of your wallet. This way, in case your wallet is stolen, the thief doesn’t have access to all of your credit cards. Unless you’re traveling, try to carry one credit card and one debit card with you at all times. Leave the rest at home.
  4. Don’t store your Social Security # on your license or keep SS Card in your wallet.
  5. Never insert your credit card information, on a website you don’t trust.
  6. Hold mail at the post office, when you’re out-of-town. Never let mail, boxes and packages sit on a door step overnight. It’s a gold mine for identity thieves.
  7. Use virus protection software on your computer. For Windows users, AVG is an open-source  program that you can use to protect your computer from viruses.
  8. Learn how to erase your hard drive, if selling or donating your old computer.
  9. If you need to mail an important document, such as your taxes, either hand it to the mail man, drop it off in a collection box, or go to the  post office. Never let it sit in your mailbox overnight with the red flag up.
  10. Never give your personal information away over the phone from a solicitation.
  11. Review your credit card bill every month. Make sure there is nothing on there, that you don’t recognize. A lot of the time, thieves will put a small charge initially on your account, wait a month to see if you notice it, then put a bigger charge later.
  12. If the transaction involves the country Nigeria, it’s a scam.
  13. Don’t list your social security number on a resume, then send it out to 20 companies online.
  14. If you can manage to pay your bill in full each month, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards typically have better protection against identity theft.
  15. Use ATM’s sparingly and never use an ATM late at night. There are plenty of people who like to look over your shoulder to see your ATM #.
  16. Keep all of your checkbooks in a very secure place. Never store your checkbook in your purse, wallet, or car.
  17. Use your shredder to get rid of old checkbooks.
  18. Store copies of important documents and cards in a secure place in your house. Make sure to get copies of the front and back of your passport, credit cards, license, ID Cards. If your credit card gets stolen, the number you want to call is on the back of your credit card.
  19. Keep a list of everything in your wallet or purse. If you ever lose either, make sure that each account in your wallet was cancelled.
  20. If you have an old credit card that you rarely use, make sure to check the balance monthly. You can ever use a service like Mint, to do all the tracking for you.
  21. If you lose your license, ask for a new driver’s licensee number.
  22. Freeze your credit, if you’re at a high risk of identity theft.
  23. Don’t keep bank deposit slips in your wallet. Store in a safe place, until you see that money deposited is correct, then shred.
  24. When traveling in a place known for pick pocketing, don’t leave your wallet in your back pocket. Put it in your side pocket and for an extra layer of protection, buy pants with buttons.
  25. If you have a military ID, which has your SS on it, just store a copy with your SS number blacked out in your wallet.
  26. Don’t write your PIN # on a little piece of paper and keep it inside your wallet.
  27. If someone steals your purse with your keys inside, immediately contact a locksmith, to have your locks re-keyed.
  28. If someone has stolen your wallet or purse, mark on your calendar to check your credit report one month after the incident.
  29. Keep credit card receipts in a safe place. Never just toss, without looking to see if your full credit card number is listed.
  30. Don’t give away your old ID to someone under 21. Quick story to illustrate, a friend of mine let someone use his old ID. One night after a few beers at a sporting event, he signed up for a credit card to get a free  T-Shirt with the fake ID. The guy who had his ID got the shirt and my friend got a new credit card.
  31. Limit the amount of credit cards you carry. Four is probably the max I would have at one time. Hard to monitor anymore.
  32. Use electronic delivery for every bill.
  33. Pay bills online.
  34. Never check a bank account or other personal accounts on a public computer. Delete the cookies on the browser if you’re just checking email.
  35. If you have a tendency to misplace credit cards, instead of including your signature on the back of the card, write down “Ask for ID”.
  36. Have a unique signature. The harder your signature is to duplicate, the harder it will be to forge.
  37. Refuse to give away your social security number to businesses that don’t need it.
  38. Don’t store your credit card information on any sites. We would like to think that secure sites like Amazon and Google Checkout can store your credit card information securely, but  you can never be sure. (Hint: The only reason they store your credit card information online is to make purchasing easier. You can save a lot of money, if you take the extra minute each time buying something online to enter in your ID)
  39. Have new checks ordered, sent to the bank. Never get them sent directly to your house. They come in a very obvious small box.
  40. Don’t store your information on multiple sites. When you’re checking out of a store online, they will ask you to register as a user. Even if they don’t store your credit card information, always check out as a guest.
  41. If your Social Security # is on your health insurance card or any other type of statement, ask for it to be removed. Ask the company to create you a new ID # that isn’t your social security number.
  42. Shred old documents once a year that you no longer needs. You only need to keep tax records for the previous seven years. has a good explanation of what you need to keep and for how long.
  43. If you’re good with a scanner, keep your financial records on an external hard drive and hide it in a safe place. Shred the rest.
  44. Check your credit report at least once every six months. Mark the date you check your credit report on your calendar and set it for six months in the future. You can do so for free at
  45. Buy a secure safe for the house. Don’t just have a filing cabinet with a lock. Store your important documents such as passports, social security cards, tax returns, etc… in a safe and hide it away.
  46. Learn how to properly secure your home wireless network.
  47. With all of this information that you now know, teach it to your parents. Make sure they are protected because if someone is able to steal your parents identity, there is a good chance they can get access to your identity.

If you have any other tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft, please share them in the comments.

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