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How to Prevent Identity Theft: What You Should Know

By: Jennifer D. Gray|LRL Writer

Prevent Identity TheftBefore obtaining information on how to prevent identity theft, it is important to understand the meaning of identity theft in the first place. Identity theft is not just a matter of a thief using your face and your name, or stealing your IDs and replacing your pictures with theirs. In the cyber world, identity theft is a major concern because online transactions are now an everyday occurrence, and there are many hackers whose livelihood is exploiting people who disclose personal information during these transactions.

It is always better to be proactive to ensure your personal protection. You can prevent identity theft while at your home or in your office. If you are the type of person who normally brings your work home, then you should be careful not to mix your personal files with your work files. If you bring your laptop at home, only save your work files on your office laptop and leave all your personal files on your own personal computer at home. You laptop may be easily tampered inside the office when you are not there; hence, you do not want to give people ideas by leaving sensitive information in the hard drive.

When it comes to snail mail, drop off your mail directly at the post office. If you are on vacation for a long time, inform your local post office to hold off your mail for a while and that you will just pick it up upon your arrival. Your mail could be credit card bills containing sensitive information which identity thieves can use to hack into your account. Moreover, do not just throw your bills into the garbage. Use a shredder to make sure they are destroyed. Why? Because the garbage can is useful not only to the homeless and hungry, but also to identity thieves who know many people throw away large amounts of personal information fully intact.

As for how to prevent identity theft in the office, first, learn about how safe your data are inside your office, whether it is a printed copy or a file in the computer. If the data on your computer are centralized or if they can be accessed by using company software, then most likely all of your files can be accessed by the network administrator.

If online transactions are normal in your line of work, never give out personal information about yourself or your company unless it is to a trusted partner company or client. If you want to make purchases online, use third part accounts such as Pay Pal. This way, you lessen the risk of hackers getting directly into your credit card account. Deal only with websites that have a security policy.

By following these guidelines, you reduce the risk of facing an identity theft crisis.

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