You or even your children can become a victim of identity theft when someone steals your personal information for the purpose of utilizing it to generate comparable duplicated identities without your understanding.

Your personal information (i.e. social security numbers, passport, birth date, banking information, etc.) is used to illegally apply for credit and loans, buy services, purchase goods and/or cloak a criminals true identity for the purpose of taking part in even greater criminal activities.

Below are a few simple tips for you to follow to help yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.

- When you order checks from your bank, do not put your first and last name on the checks. Only have them print your initials. This way, in the event that someone steals your checkbook, they will not know what your name is for signing the checks.

- Contact your credit card companies and make them require a photo ID to be shown when making purchases instead of checking the signature on the back of the card. This way, a crook will not be able to forge your name.

- If you pay your credit card bills with a check every month, never write your credit card account number on the 'For' line of your checks. As an alternative, only write the last four digits. Your credit card company knows your full account number, and any potential identity thief that comes in the path of your payment will not have access to any sensitive information.

- Never put your home phone number on checks. Use your work phone instead. Same with your address. If you have a PO Box, utilize that. If not, write your work address.

- You never want to put your social security numbers on any check on paperwork that you are sending in regular mail. If you must mail your SSN, utilize First Class mail. This way, you can track your package for the entire shipment.

- Make photocopies of everything in your wallet including your license and your credit cards, etc.. This way, you are fully aware of what is in your wallet in the event that it is stolen. You will still have easy access to all of your account numbers and the phone numbers needed to call in the event that you need to cancel your accounts. Keep these documents in a safe, private place in your house. In addition, if you are traveling, carry a copy of your passport with you in your luggage. This way, if you lose or have your passport stolen, you are not stuck in a foreign country without any ID.

- Whenever you are checking out from a hotel that has key that are cards, do not hand-over the keys/cards. Take the keys with you and get rid of them yourself by ripping them up and/or burning them. These small cards contain all of your personal information that you provided to the hotel. This can include your address and all of your credit card information. A thief with a device that can read these cards can access all of that information without any problems at all.

Related Reading:
Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft. - Identity Theft Prevention and Survival

Detecting Identity Theft
Seniors and Identity Theft
What To Do If You are a Victim of Identity Theft



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