There at least 99 things to know about how to prevent identity theft. Below is a good starting point.
- Watch your bank accounts online and examine your statements frequently.
- Opt out of preapproved credit cards. Go to https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t to get started.
- Check your credit for free at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp. You can do this up to three times a year.
- Dispute unauthorized credit accounts with the issuing lender.
- Don’t leave keys, purses, wallets, mobiles or laptops in your car or unlocked gym locker. Keep your stuff with you, or at least lock it up and hide it.
- Keep purses and wallets close. When you aren’t looking, thieves will steal a credit card from your open purse and you might not know it for days.
- Watch your credit card statements as closely as your bank statements, especially after you use your card.
- Watch clerks at checkout to make sure they aren’t double-swiping your credit card and skimming your information off the magnetic strip.
- Beware of ATM skimmers. Poke around the card slot and make sure there isn’t an extra façade that can be pulled off.
10. Check fraud happens when criminals get hold of your check routing and account numbers at the bottom of the check. Again, watch your bank statements.
11. Put your mail in a blue post office-issued mailbox or at the post office—not in your own mailbox with the flag up.
12. Never wire money to strangers online. If you are buying something off classifieds or receive an email or phone call from someone, even a family member in distress, it is probably a scam.
13. Lock down your PC with antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing and a firewall.
14. Update your digital devices’ operating systems critical security patches.
15. Invest in identity theft protection. You can and should do all of the above, but you still can be victimized because some big company gets hacked.