Essential Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Most people understand the risks of theft and spend a lot of time securing their home against intruders. However, these people often overlook one of their most valuable possessions, their identity.

Your identity is much more valuable than you give it credit for. You are no doubt a hard working individual and your identity will reflect this. If you ever wanted to apply for a loan then your identity would work in your favor. When applying for a loan the bank will consider your credibility by looking at your identity. Anyone who can steal your identity would be able to borrow money in your name, leaving you with a massive, unpaid debt.

Stealing Your Identity

Anyone can quite easily help themselves to your identity and start racking up debt in your name. This is actually much easier than you might imagine and anyone can do it. It's not just the organized crime rings that are responsible for stealing people's identities.

How Does it Happen?

Most people believe that their identity is the one thing that people can't steal. That isn't exactly true. Whenever you want to open a new bank account or apply for any loans you need to prove your identity. This involves showing bank statements and various other things that only you would have.

That's why it's so important that you dispose of these carefully. Never throw these statements out in the trash because if you do, they could make you the victim of a very nasty crime.

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

You should never put anything with your address on it in the rubbish bin. All of this needs to be shredded or destroyed so that it can't be read by anyone.

There are lots of people who suffer from identity theft without actually realizing it. They might not find out until it's too late. It's vital that you get a copy of your credit report so that you can find out who is borrowing money in your name.

Protecting Your Computer

Being careful with all of your personal documents is one thing but you must also be very careful with your computer. Your computer is privileged with all sorts of sensitive information. That's why it's essential that you install up-to-date security software for your computer.

If you ever sell your computer then make sure you either remove and destroy the hard drive, or use specialist software to remove all of your sensitive information. Don't make the same mistake that the British secret service, and US military have made in the past.

A university study has found that one in three second hand hard drives contains sensitive information which could be used to steal your identity.

What If Identity Theft Affects Me?

If you do suffer from identity theft then there are a number of things that you should do. The first is to visit your local police station and report the crime. This is a very serious crime and must be reported.

There is a lot of advice for people suffering from identity theft on the internet and this can be a very helpful way to get rid of the problem once and for all.

Many people don't bother with protecting their identity because they think that it will never happen to them. Yet, this crime is becoming more and more common, creating a very real chance that it could affect you. You might want to consider using identity theft protection insurance to make sure you never suffer from this crime.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.