How to Prevent Identity Theft 
Online and Offline

Knowing how to prevent identity theft is a key facet of life in our digital age. With more and more transactions, accounts, bill payment options, shopping, and even medical records being moved to the world wide web, protecting your confidential information is vital.

Although it is true that some hackers are able to gain access to even the most carefully protected databases or systems, a little prevention will go a long way in protecting yourself from identity crime. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Online Security Tips

There are several basic ways you can protect yourself. One of the easiest ways is when you are shopping or viewing account or other personal information online, look for the padlock symbol on the page to make sure that it is a secure page.

Don’t enter your information on suspicious looking websites and certainly do not ever respond to emails asking for usernames, passwords, credit card information, etc. If it purports to be from a legitimate institution, call the institution to check on the situation. Most companies will never ask for this type of information over email—this is a phishing tactic.

prevent identity theft

Install Protective Software

Part of knowing how to prevent identity theft is installing the appropriate protective software on your computer. Never access the internet without a filter—this is a good way for all sorts of viruses and problems to enter your personal computer.

Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. These programs will search for harmful viruses in your system or for spying software that hackers may have installed on your computer.



Protect Documents and Banking Transactions

Identity theft doesn’t only happen online. You should also know how to prevent identity theft from happening with your personal documents and information.

  • Never leave personal documents out—file them in a locked cabinet. If you don’t need them anymore, shred them.
  • Never write down your usernames and passwords on a piece of paper and leave it lying around. If you can’t memorize them, at least keep them in a secure location.
  • Never access personal information on a shared computer—if you absolutely must, make absolutely certain to log off when you are finished. If there are people waiting around watching your screen, log off and come back later.
  • If you do your banking online, it is a good idea to check your account status daily to ensure that no unauthorized activity is occurring in your account.

These are simple ways you can prevent identity theft, but they will go a long way in protecting your personal information from the crime of identity theft. 

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