How to protect your identity!

by Melissa

If you are reading this then obviously you enjoy spending time online whether that be reading blogs, social media or online shopping. That means that any information that you share across the web is subject to being stolen or hacked which is why it is important to familiarize all of ourselves in how to protect our identity. We have the ability to avoid identity theft and decrease our risk of becoming victims.

How to protect your identity!

If you have been reading my blog for a while then you know that I am all about DIY and shop at Home Depot a lot. So when earlier this year I heard they had a security breach in their payment data systems you know I was a little shaken. Luckily they found no evidence of information being compromised so that is good but you can never be too cautious with your identity. Here are a few ways that I keep myself and my family from getting victimized.

 

  • First and foremost… Do NOT give out your SSN unless it is necessary.

  • Purchase a shredder! My husband tore up my shredder because he is heavy handed and wants to stick way too many documents in at one time but it is something we most definitely will replace. Shred everything that has any kind of personal identifiers on it that could be used against you. This means even junk mail credit card applications.

  • Consider using an identity protection service: LifeLock provides identity protection products and services you can count on. In fact, with LifeLock Advantage™ and LifeLock Ultimate Plus™, they can help you detect fraudulent activity with alerts for cash withdrawals, balance transfers and large purchases.

  • If you are like me you do all of your banking online but don’t just blow off your statements. Regularly check them over for any suspicious activity.

  • Use strong passwords! This is something I have been trying to get better at because lets face it sometimes it is hard to remember a bunch of different ones. A good strong password needs to be at least 8 characters long and contain upper and lower case letters as well as numeric and non alphabetical characters.

  • NEVER give out personal information over the phone. If you called the business and you know who you are talking to then you are good but otherwise just don’t do it.

  • If you are mailing bills off then place them in a mail collection box or drop them by the post office.

  • Protect your computer! All of our computers holds all sorts of information on it so protecting it from being breached is super important. Keep your virus and spyware programs up to date. If you are getting rid of an old computer remove the hard drive before selling it.

  • Protect your cell phone and tablets!! I know with today’s smartphones you can do just about everything and then some on your phones so it is important they are protected just like your computers. Secure your phone and tablets with a lock feature and password protect it. You never know when it could get lost and if you can’t get it back then at least the person who snatched it can’t use your information against you.

  • Never open or reply to suspicious emails. If you don’t know who they are from just delete them. A reputable business would never ask for your personal information over an email so don’t fall victim from these phishing scams.

  • Regularly check your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year and can actually make it three times a year by only doing one major bureau at a time. This is how we check our credit 3 times annually.

We move a lot because of the military so we have it set up that anything being opened under our credit has to contact us first for approval. We also have our banking turned off for out of country purchases. We know we aren’t going out of country and won’t be making purchases out of country. It might seem like a little bit of a hassle to take these extra steps but it actually has saved us in the past. My husband was contacted by our bank asking if we tried to make a purchase in Canada and of course we were no were near Canada. Because we had it set up the way we did they declined the purchase right away and contacted us letting us know what happened and sent my husband a new card. A few moments worth of a hassle is definitely better than the hassle of trying to get it straightened after something bad happens.

If you are thinking about purchasing Lifelock be sure to get 10% off with  promo code “breachwatch.”

How do you protect yourself from identity theft?

 

 

(original picture by digitalart, modified by me)


27 comments

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27 comments

Chelsee September 24, 2014 - 8:19 AM

I actually have hadmy debit card # stolen twice in one year from gas pumps. Thank goodness my bank covers me when this happens! This sounds amazing! I have learned the extra steps are so worth it!

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Robin (Masshole Mommy) September 24, 2014 - 9:12 AM

Identity theft is a really scary thing. I don’t want anyone stealing what I have worked so hard for!

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Kendra September 24, 2014 - 9:46 AM

Our shredder died after a few months of hard work; now I just put all the papers in a box and bring it to a local shredding event a few times a year.

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Liz Mays September 24, 2014 - 9:56 AM

I only put my outgoing mail in the mailbox here if I know it’s about to be picked up. My boyfriend puts his in his mailbox the night before. I think he’s crazy!

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Chrystal @ YUM eating September 24, 2014 - 12:02 PM

I am pretty thankful for Lifelock and I know my husband is too. I’ll keep it forever.

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kristine foley September 24, 2014 - 10:07 AM

Identity theft scared the crap out of me! Will def look into this! Thanks!

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Ange September 24, 2014 - 11:28 AM

I love Lifelock!

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Mitch September 24, 2014 - 12:08 PM

I try to be safe. Looks like hackers can get anything these days though. This is only going to lead to more crack downs on Internet usage I suspect.

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Pam September 24, 2014 - 4:46 PM

Identity theft really scares me, especially after seeing it happen to some of my friends and family. I’m glad that LifeLock offers protection for people.

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Marina September 24, 2014 - 5:50 PM

We actually have a Lifelock subscription and don’t regret it one bit. We also ensure we shred sensitive material/correspondence and even junk mail!

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Jeanine September 24, 2014 - 6:31 PM

Identity theft is so scary and a huge problem! I’ve heard lots of amazing things about Lifelock. I would for sure feel safer with it!

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Mary September 24, 2014 - 7:03 PM

One of the women I work with has actually had her identity stolen. She told me about her horror story. I’ve actually heard of LifeLock before by listening to Coast to Coast AM.

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Deb September 24, 2014 - 7:20 PM

This is so important to know. Identity theft freaks me out.

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Donna September 24, 2014 - 9:54 PM

I worry about having my identity stolen a lot anymore… I need to check LifeLock out!

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April @ Everyday Fitness and Nutrition September 25, 2014 - 4:43 AM

I’m going to look into Lifelock to avoid having to deal with identity theft. I’ve had my debit card information compromised in the past. It wasn’t too bad to fix but it’s scary how much damage can be done.

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Carly Anderson September 25, 2014 - 10:07 AM

With all these credit card hacks going on at stores and restaurants, protecting your identity is more important than ever! With these hacks, I am tempted to start using cash more!

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Christie September 25, 2014 - 12:02 PM

Identity theft is so scary to think about! We’ve had credit card problems, but this is definitely a whole other level

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Elizabeth Ferree September 25, 2014 - 12:13 PM

Great tips, this did happen to us. I also recommend watching your bank reports because this is another way you can catch them. Sometimes they get your CC# and use only a certain month every month in the hopes you don’t notice.

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Ann Bacciaglia September 25, 2014 - 12:24 PM

These are some great tips. Identity theft is such a growing problem. It is so important to protect yourself any way you can.

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Tracey September 25, 2014 - 12:26 PM

Really helpful and important tips. Thank you for sharing them.

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krystalskitsch September 25, 2014 - 1:26 PM

Identity theft is no joke! It has happened to both my friend and my mom!

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Beth@KCMompreneurs September 25, 2014 - 9:30 PM

I saw that Jimmy Johns also just had a credit card breach. I agree with Chrysa. I don’t like it when Dr offices ask for my SS#. I refuse.

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Chrysa Duran September 25, 2014 - 7:55 PM

I love all of your identity protection tips. I get so irate when everyone wants our SS#. It isn’t necessary to share it with schools or even Dr offices. off to check out Life Lock.

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Cam | Bibs and Baubles September 25, 2014 - 11:26 PM

Life lock seems like a must have these days. I really need to look into it.

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April September 28, 2014 - 11:20 AM

I hadn’t thought of replacing the hard drive when I sold a computer. These are fantastic tips!

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Melissa Coleman September 29, 2014 - 6:51 AM

You don’t have to replace it, just remove it. You might not get as much money without it but just removing everything off your computer never really removes everything off the hard drive. If it got into the wrong person’s hands they could recover the information.

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Amanda September 29, 2014 - 8:20 AM

It’s scary how careless corporations are getting with their security. I pay for a monitoring service to make sure nothing sneaky is going on.

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