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Tuesday, July 12, 2011 |

Ways to Avoid Identity Theft

A while back, someone in my family was a victim of identity theft when their credit card was stolen. This came as quite a shock to her, and it was a huge hassle to get everything sorted out. After all, you have to be able to prove that it’s not really you making purchases, and these companies aren’t likely to want to give you refunds without thorough evidence. Eventually the situation was resolved and she got a new card, but ever since then our entire family has been extremely careful with any information involving credit card or account numbers, far more careful than we were previously.

Identity theft is really just a sticky situation that is unfortunately more common than you would think, but fortunately easy to avoid. Here are some ways you can prevent identity theft or credit card fraud so you don’t have to go through the pains of getting everything sorted out.

  • Keep an eye on your bank and credit statements. Just make sure that everything that shows up can be accounted for in your own purchases. If you start seeing suspicious purchases then your account may be compromised.
  • Shred any documents with sensitive information. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You never know who could go through your trash and find things like account numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and more.
  • Be careful when shopping online. Never choose the option to have a website save your credit card information, PIN numbers or passwords. Clear out your cookies regularly and change passwords often, if necessary. Never purchase anything from a website that you aren’t sure is secure.
  • Consider identity theft insurance. If you do a lot of online shopping, you don’t have time to monitor your credit information, and you are just worried about being an identity theft victim, there are companies that specialize in identity theft protection.

Have you been a victim of identity theft, or do you know anybody who has? What steps do they take now to keep this from happening again?

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