The Federal Trade Commission and other organizations have started identity theft prevention programs to try and make the public more aware of ways to protect their identity from the thieves who want to use it for their own purposes. These programs offer identity protection tips so that individuals know what to look for to see if a thief has accessed their information as well as offering advice on what to do to prevent it from happening in the first place. Most of these identity theft prevention programs say that making the public aware of the danger is the biggest way to help to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Take-home Messages From An Identity Theft Prevention Program
One tip in the identity theft prevention programs is to shred any personal information before it is thrown into the garbage can. This is especially important for any documents that may have full bank account or social security information on it. It is also important for documents that have full credit card information on them, such as the credit card statements themselves. Phone and utility bills can also be a problem since the account number is listed on the bill as well as the home address and thieves can sometimes get away with using just that information to add a connection or transfer an account so that they can use it for their own purposes.
Another tip from identity theft prevention programs is to protect the social security card and social security number at all costs. The social security card should be kept in a safe place where it cannot be easily accessed by strangers. If there are roommates in the home, the card should be kept in a locked place at all times. It should never be carried in the purse or wallet because it is too easy to steal it. In addition, the identity theft prevention programs also warn not to give out the social security number over the phone or internet unless the individual has initiated the phone call so that they are sure that the company is legitimate.
Finally, the identity theft prevention programs warn not to use obvious passwords when creating accounts, especially bank accounts and other high security accounts. Many people will use birth dates, their mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of a social security number and these are too easy for thieves to figure out, allowing them to access those accounts and steal money from them.