If you are a person aged 30-39, you are at the highest risk for Identity Theft. Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in America and affects 9-10 million people each year. The five major types of identity theft involve:
1. Driver’s licenses
2. Social Security Numbers
3. Medical Information
4. Character/Criminal actions
5. Financial transactions
Areas with higher concentrations of people, such as Los Angelos and New York City, tend to have higher occurrences of identity theft. A main reason for this is improper disposal of trash. Be sure to shred all bills and personal information before throwing it away.
An identity thief’s dream find:
1. Utility bills
2. Credit card bills
3. Car payment
4. Bank account statements
No one is safe from identity theft. Your information is out there at every doctor’s office, hospital and bank you ever dealt with. The question isn’t IF, it’s WHEN? In order to protect yourself there are steps you can begin to take right now:
1. Shred all your documents before throwing them in the trash.
2. Never give out personal information such as social security number or credit card numbers unless you are sure whom you are doing business with.
3. Never email credit or debit card numbers – if you have to email this information, send 2 separate emails with partial information in both emails. Again, be sure you know and trust the recipient.
4. Never dispose of receipts with your name or that contain any credit card information in a public trash can.
5. Monitor your credit report regularly – the last thing you want to discover is that your identity has been compromised when trying to make a major purchase.
6. Keep all receipts to track your spending against your bank accounts and credit card statements.
Once your identity is stolen, it can take years to rebuild good credit and fix the mess. Creditors and collection agencies can harass you for debt that isn’t even legitimately yours. Start protecting yourself today.