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“How do I avoid identity theft?” This is the question that many people want the answer to. They want to avoid being victimized by ruthless criminals. If you’ve asked yourself this question, you probably want to know how to protect yourself and ensure that you don’t become another statistic on a government identity theft Web site. It’s easy to discount things that you find on the Web, however, the following information will help you answer the all-important question, “How do I avoid identity theft?”
There are rarely any instances where someone absolutely has to have your personal information. Basically, you should keep your personal data as private as possible. Some instances where you may need to provide personal information are when your credit card company needs to verify who you are. However, keep in mind that if you have an account with a financial institution, they will have information such as your Social Security number and date of birth on file.
Shred all unwanted credit card offers that you receive in the mail. An identity thief looks for this type of information in your trash and will not hesitate to fill out an application for a credit card in your name and have the card sent to a different address. Other documents that have account numbers or personal information should either be shredded or placed in a secure area such as a safe.
Check your credit report on an annual basis. There are three major credit-reporting agencies in the United States. Each year, you are allowed to check your credit report for free. Take advantage of this so that you can ensure that there are no discrepancies between the three reports. If you do notice a problem, call the reporting agency immediately and work with them to fix it.
You have the power to protect your personal information and protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft. Utilize common sense and keep your information safe-guarded as much as possible. This will ensure that your information doesn’t become the property of someone who shouldn’t have it.