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Preventing Identity Theft: 7 Steps You Can Take To Avoid Becoming A Victim


There are several layers of protection you can use to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. You can't completely eliminate the chances. The best you can do is minimize your risk by being aware of the personal information that exist about you.

Here are 7 preventive steps you can take to lessen the
likelihood of becoming a victim of Identity Theft:

1. Never give out personally identifying information on the phone: Con artists will often call and say they're with your bank or credit card company and ask for verification of information; never answer the questions. Call the organization's standard corporate number and ask if someone has called you.

2. Use caution when using a check or debit card to buy anything online: If someone steals your check card information, they can empty your account. If they steal credit card information, they can steal only the bank's money.

3. Shred everything: Shred anything with personally identifying information on it, such as a name, address, or account number. When in doubt, shred it anyway. Better safe than sorry.

4. Question anybody who is requesting any personally identifiable information: You don't have to give out your birth date or even your phone number, but most people willingly give that information out. Stop giving out information unless it's necessary. And think about what you're doing when you write a check. It contains your checking account information, your name, address and everyone wants your driver's license number. An unscrupulous or careless clerk can let all the information slip into the wrong hands.

5. Get a credit-monitoring service: You want to catch someone at the application phase before $5,000 has been charged up in purchases. In most circumstances, if you do not deny debt within 60 days, regardless of whether you didn't know about it, you're responsible for the unauthorized charges on your account.

6. Have a 24-hour access to an attorney: When you discover a problem, most of the time it's going to be an emergency. You may be getting arrested for something someone else did under your driver's license number, or you may be on the hook for a plasma TV you never bought. It may be at night or on a weekend, and you can't wait for standard business hours to address it.

7. Use a true identity restoration company, because it takes an average of 600 hours to straighten out an identity theft.

Using these steps in preventing identity theft are your best defense against thieves, so you can avoid from being a victim. 

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