We’ve all heard the horror stories about how difficult it is to recover from having your identity stolen. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help minimise the risk of identity theft.
Check your home letterbox daily and only drop your outgoing post into a secure letterbox. Also, pay attention to your billing cycles; identity thieves may change your billing address, so a late bill may indicate a problem.
Carry only what you need in your wallet or purse and keep an itemised list of those items on paper. In the event of a mishap, you’ll know who should be notified and the phone numbers to call to cancel the accounts.
If your wallet is lost or stolen:
- Call your credit card company immediately and have that particular card cancelled.
- File a police report in the jurisdiction in which your property was stolen. This will help to provide proof of immediate action to your credit card providers.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report from a credit reference agency such as Callcredit, Equifax or Experian and monitor your report for discrepancies.
Give out on a ‘need to know’ basis only, and only to legitimate businesses. Invest in a shredder for destroying documents that contain personal information.
Regularly update your virus protection software or use a firewall programme. Before you dispose of your old computer, delete personal information by using a ‘wipe’ utility programme to ‘clean’ all the information off your hard drive.
Review your credit history annually
It can take months to learn that someone has applied for credit in your name. To stay up-to-date on your credit history, review your credit record at least once a year.
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