- Consider an identity theft insurance policy to reimburse you for time and money spent recovering your identity.
- Worried that an unauthorized credit account has been opened in your name? Two major tools -- fraud alerts and security freezes -- can help consumers fight back against such an action.
- Take defensive action against ID theft by shredding old cards and statements and monitoring your credit and debit card activities.
- Be stingy about what you reveal on social networking services. Giving out key bits of your identity could make it easier for an identity thief to apply for a loan in your name or fool a customer service representative.
- Never put your Social Security number, birthdate, birthplace or other financial information on your resume.
- Worried that you may be a victim of credit fraud? Contact the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
- Put parental blocks on computers used by teens.
- Periodically try to pull your child's credit report. If you haven't added your child as an authorized user to a credit card, your child shouldn't have a credit report.
- Be alert to anyone trying to solicit personal information from you.
- Maintain anti-virus and anti-malware software on your personal computer.
- Stagger your credit reports so you can receive one every four months.
- Strengthen passwords online. Don't use the same password on multiple sites.
- ID theft happens when a fraudster uses your personal information -- such as a Social Security, credit card or bank account number -- to purchase goods and services
- 12.6 million Americans were victimized by ID theft in 2012, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Using plastic also makes you more vulnerable to a data breach, which is when hackers gain access to the electronic transaction records of a store or payment processor.
- In 2012, 1 in 4 victims of a data breach who received notification became victims of identity fraud, the highest rate since 2010, according to Javelin Strategy and Research.
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