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5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
The crime of identity theft grows in complexity every day, as criminal syndicates find new ways to exploit weaknesses in citizen's armor. Thankfully, protecting yourself from the ravages of identity theft is much easier than trying to understand the motives of identify thieves and the wicked acts they perpetrate on innocent victims.
Let's run through five simple things you and your family members can do today to help protect yourself.
1. Memorize your Social Security Number, then place your Social Security card in a secure place for permanent safekeeping. Do not carry your card in your wallet or purse.
2. Never give your SSN or any other personal information to a person on the phone, unless you initiated the call and know the person or organization on the receiving end. Please note that the IRS will never contact you by phone. If someone calls claiming to be from the IRS, it's a hoax, hang up at once and report the caller's number to police.
3. Secure your "snail mail" with a locked mailbox, or use a post office box. Your private mail that includes health records, tax records, bank records, or school records can all be exploited by an identity thief - but not when they can't easily access your mail.
4. Pay with cash whenever possible, and carry your credit cards in an RFID-blocking wallet or purse. Believe it or not, an identity thief can scan your credit cards right through your pocket, or purse, while you're waiting in line at the checkout, unbeknownst to you or anyone at the store.
5. Be careful what you click. If you receive an email from someone you do not know and that email has a dubious link or attachment, it's most likely a phishing email designed to rob you blind. When in doubt, delete!
Sadly, you can do all of the above, and more, and still become a victim of identity theft through no fault of your own. There are no guarantees, but by doing the little things that matter, you can make a big difference in the level of protection from identity theft that you and your family enjoy.
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