How Do You Protect Yourself From Identity Theft?

Guard against identity theft by minimizing social networking presence, keeping virus protection up to date on the computer and shredding sensitive documents. Creating strong passwords for accounts and increasing Wi-Fi security also helps, notes Bankrate.

Taking steps to ensure identity protection and lowering the risk of stolen identities requires an individual to:

  1. Keep social networking to a minimum
  2. Avoid giving too much information out on social networking sites. Many scammers look over social networking sites to find information for stealing the identities of others, reports Bankrate. Use privacy settings that hide birthdates and other personal information, such as a mother's maiden name.

  3. Keep computer anti-virus software up to date
  4. More and more crooks get into computers and find sensitive information via malware and spyware. Keeping a computer safe with top-quality software to guard against these invasions is part of guarding against identity theft.

  5. Shred sensitive documents
  6. Shred bank statements and other documents that have sensitive information that crooks can use to steal a new name. Financial solicitations and credit card offers should be shredded also, advises Bankrate.

  7. Choose strong passwords
  8. Select passwords that are not easy to think of. Avoid common passwords like subsequent number combinations or other obvious passwords to keep thieves out of sensitive files.

  9. Be careful with Wi-Fi
  10. Be certain to keep others out of a home Wi-Fi network by encrypting it with a password. This adds another layer to guard against identity theft, notes Bankrate.

A lot of scams involve criminals calling random people to secure personal information over the phone. The criminal poses as a bank or government agency. To prevent identity theft, refrain from divulging personal information over the phone. To ensure it isn't a scam, initiate a phone call by calling the bank or government agency.

A very effective way to prevent identity theft is credit report monitoring. This allows any unauthorized credit changes to be identified quickly and stopped. A credit monitoring service sends alerts any time there is a change noted on a credit report.