How To Keep Your Personal Information Safe From Identity Thieves
One of the biggest security issues these days is that of identity theft, people can get your vital information like your social security number, birth date, credit card number and other critical material from your home via your computer at home, your trash or even your mailbox. There are some steps that you can take to safeguard against this type of theft and save yourself some costly headaches.
The first step in your line of defense against identity theft is to be sure that your computer has the proper security software to protect it from someone accessing it remotely and stealing your information. There are programs written that if given access can spider the data on your computer and pull out information such as passwords and financial information. If you have a wireless network in your home, the same applies you want to make sure that the proper security protocols are in place so that your network cannot be easily hacked into and be sure that you have a firewall installed.
If you own a laptop that you keep valuable information on, never leave it unattended. Even though you think it may be safe to leave it inside your car for example that is just leaving yourself open to a theft of a higher magnitude. If someone steals your car, now do they not only have your means of transportation but if you have enough personal information on your laptop they may be able to assume your identity and sell the vehicle through a legal transaction acting as you. In addition they now will have access to any and all personal and financial information that you had stored on the laptop.
Next, if you have confidential information that is printed you will want to keep it in a locked and secure location. If you are throwing information like this away, such as banking statements, credit card statements, etc you want to be sure to run it through a paper shredder before discarding it to eliminate the possibility that a thief could gain access to it. This is one of the easiest low tech ways that identity thieves get information, it is simple and it doesn't cost them a nickel to do it.
In regards to log in and password information you never want them anywhere that people may be able to find them. The best practice is to commit them to memory and not have the stored anywhere. If a thief gets hold of your log in information for your bank or online trading account they could ruin your financially in a matter of minutes. You should also change your passwords for these accounts frequently.
Another problem area, especially if you live in an urban area is that of mailbox theft. Identity thieves simply pull up to your mailbox and take your mail, gaining access to bank and credit card information as well as other personal documents. It may be wise to consider a locking mail box that only has a slot for the postman to put mail in and then take your outgoing mail directly to the Post Office.