December is National Identity Theft Prevention Month. With the holidays upon us, it's not a surprise that December is the highest month for fraud and identity theft. Many thieves target those looking for seasonal work and/or who buy most of their items online.
So how do you protect yourself against this not only during one of the best times of the year but also the rest of the year? Here are a few helpful tips to help protect yourself this holiday season.
- Only carry what you need
Don't over load your wallet with all your credit cards. Only carry the ones you intend to use. This can help you keep track of which cards are where. For the credit cards you are not using, place them in a secure location at home.
- Never carry your social security card
This should be one that goes with out saying, but plenty of people still carry their social security card around with them. If it gets lost or stolen it is very difficult to get a replacement card. Only carry it if you absolutely need it. Otherwise, keep it at home in a secure location with your other important documents.
- Have a secure location for your important information
Never leave your important documents laying around your home, especially if you are having visitors. You never know who is going to look through your things. It's best to never let your guard down with this type of information. Investing in a home safe (kept out of sight) is a smart decision in protecting your personal information.
- Do not share your personal information unless absolutely necessary
Before sharing any personal information at places such as on work, doctor’s offices or even your child’s school, ask why they need that information and how will they protect it. You can also ask what the consequences would be if you opt not to share certian personal information.
Remember, it's always okay to ask questions when it comes to giving out your personal information. Ensuring your information is protected will make it difficult, if not impossible, for identity thieves to access it.
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