How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

If you manage most of your daily tasks, like banking and shopping on the Internet, you may be more susceptible to falling victim to identity theft. While you may already check your bank and credit accounts regularly, there are additional steps you can take to help secure your identity.

Woman shocked looking at phone

Use strong passwords

Even Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, found out the hard way that strong passwords are your friend. Strong passwords have at least eight characters and include capital letters, numbers and non-letter characters. The stronger the password, the harder it is to hack your account.


Don’t recycle passwords

If you are always on the go, recycling passwords may seem like a good idea and a timesaver. New passwords can be a pain to remember, but they provide extra safety. A worse scenario is using the same password for every site and losing it. If someone finds it, they could get access to all your accounts. When it comes to recycling passwords – don’t.


Monitor your credit report

If you are in the habit of staying on top of all things financial, add this to your list. By law, you’re entitled to a free report every year from each of the three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Request one every four months from a different bureau each time. You also can order the report directly at Make sure you visit that website and not a knockoff site that wants charge you for your FREE report.


Shred sensitive documents

Add shredding to regular financial activities calendar. Make a habit to regularly shred outdated bank statements, credit card applications, bills, and anything with your personal information before tossing it into the trash or recycling. Junk mail can be more than a nuisance if it also includes some of your personal details.


Read scam alerts

You can find information about fraudulent activities related to Social Security on the organization’s blog. Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General investigates fraud involving Social Security and they publish Fraud Advisories. The Federal Trade Commission website also publishes information about scams.