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Q: How do I avoid identity theft?
Great question. Creepy people are out there just waiting for the chance to steal your information every day.
But you don’t have to sit back and just let it happen. You can take some active steps to make sure you don’t become another identity theft statistic.
So how do you stay on top of things?
Get identity theft insurance. It’s cheap and worth it. But don’t buy protection that only provides credit report monitoring. You can do that. Make sure you purchase protection that includes restoration services—a counselor who will work through all the paperwork and red tape to clean up the mess if your identity gets stolen.
Check your credit report often. Go to annualcreditreport.com and check your report once a year with all three agencies. Spread that out, and that means you have three chances a year to make sure no one is using your name illegally.
Get online account access from your bank. Most banks allow you to check your balance online. It’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of doing that every day. If something looks suspicious, follow up on it as quickly as possible.
Shred your documents. Don’t just toss those unwanted credit card offers into the trash. Buy a cheap shredder and use it. Always shred anything with your social security number on it, and never, never send any type of personal information—such as bank account numbers, social security numbers or card numbers—via email. That’s just asking for trouble!
Are you noticing a trend here? The idea is that you have to know what’s going on with your money.
Spare yourself the headache and stay on top of your money. That’s the best way to avoid identity theft.