This week marks the third annual Protect Your Identity Week, hosted by the Better Business Bureau, in an effort to promote awareness of the threats posed by identity theft. From October 17-23 more than 175 events will take place across the country, including educational workshops, information on how to read a credit report and how to properly dispose of items that may contain personal information - old computers and cell phones, or financial documents.
The goal is to promote awareness of the threats facing Americans, as well as to provide strategies on how to prevent falling victim to identity theft. There are a number of ways for you to protect your identity from those who would use it fraudulently. The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that you should limit the amount of personal information you share. You should never share details, such as your Social Security number or financial account details with anyone unless you know you can trust them.
Identity theft can happen in a number of ways, both digital and otherwise. Avoid saving information such as PIN numbers or any personal information on your laptop or cell phone in case they get stolen. You should also password protect all portable electronics to help ensure that any stored information will be safe if the devices fall into the wrong hands.
Many criminals who want to commit identity theft stick to old-fashioned methods, such as rooting through people's trash in search of financial and personal documents. For this reason, it's important to shred any papers that could be used for identity theft. Other crooks interested in identity theft still steal wallets and purses, so carry only the kind of identification or financial cards you need in a given day.
The best way to protect yourself from becoming an identity theft victim is to simply be aware and use common sense. Be cautious when dealing with sensitive information and it will help keep you safe.