From October 20-27, it's National Protect Your Identity Week in the U.S., and therefore serves as an excellent opportunity for you to brush up on your skills when it comes to making sure no one can get access to your most sensitive data. IDentity Theft
911 has a number of tips you can follow to make sure whatever information you don't want getting out there stays secret. Perhaps the easiest is to make sure that whenever you want to dispose of any documents you have that may contain sensitive data - bank records and credit card statements with account numbers, forms that list your Social Security number or other information - you put it through the shredder at least once. Plus, if you store these documents somewhere before disposing of them, such as a file cabinet or the like, it can be vitally important to keep it locked.
But these days, more thieves may be interested in digital documents, and that's another area you can safeguard. The simplest way to do this is to password-protect everything. Your computer, your tablet PC, and even your smartphone can store all kinds of sensitive data that would be a boon to identity thieves, and keeping them as locked-down as possible is vital to making sure that information doesn't get out.
And when it comes to constructing the passwords you use, whether it's on those devices or your email, online banking and other accounts, you should always try to mix things up as much as possible. It's generally recommended that you use a lengthy string of totally random numbers, letters and symbols that you and you alone can remember. This will ensure that even if a thief gets a hold of your device or tries to hack one of your accounts, their entry into it will be significantly impeded, if not stopped altogether.
Further, it also makes sense to regularly order copies of your credit report, and closely monitor your monthly bank statements and credit card bills. This will help to alert you to any unrecognized transactions or accounts listed in your name, and allow you to begin resolving them. Adam Levin
, the chairman of IDentity Theft 911, has more tips for consumers on his official blog about how they can protect themselves.
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