Assessed Your Risk of Identity Theft Lately?

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Protecting yourself against id theft involves quite a few steps and strategies. The first step is to be aware that identity theft can happen to anyone. The next is to protect yourself using a variety of methods.

Whether the poor state of the economy has encouraged identity theft to flourish or not, the truth of the matter is that occurrences of identity theft are on the rise. Almost everyone knows someone who has had their personal information stolen, financial accounts hacked into, or new credit card accounts set up in their name. This isn't something that you think about everyday, but if you haven't assessed your risk of identity theft lately, perhaps you should be thinking about the possibility that it might occur to you.

What factors increase an individual's risk of having their identity stolen? Unfortunately, quite a few facets of life can increase a person's chances of having their personal information and identity stolen in their lifetime. It's important to realize that even though you are an honest individual; many people exist who are not. Protect your identity in order to protect your family and your home.

Scams Designed to Steal Your Identity

The number of scams that are successful in assisting a fraudster from stealing an honest individual's identity is growing all the time. From phone scams such as the "jury scam" and the "sweepstakes scam" to online scams such as "Toy Story 3" to social networking scams like "OMG Mother Went to Jail," people are tricked into giving out personal information or allowing spyware to access their computers.

This is just a tiny sampling of the types of identity-theft scams that are currently out there today. You need to remain on guard for the latest scams and hoaxes --and on alert to the latest methods scam artists use today.

How to Protect Your Identity

The following quick tips might not protect you entirely from having your identity stolen from you, but they will help assist you in doing so.

• Never give out personal information to someone who calls you randomly.
• Never click on unsolicited links while online.
• Sign up for an identity theft protection service
• Use strong passwords and never share your passwords to online accounts with anyone.
• Do not share your credit cards with friends or other family members.
• Never give out your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.
• Clear your Web browser on a regular basis.
Be smart online.
• Safeguard your wallet, smart phones and other electronic devices
• Avoid using public wireless networks for anything but browsing the internet. 
• Use the Internet to conduct a search on various links, opportunities, or phone calls that you receive in order to help you determine their authenticity.

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Very good tips! One more: don't give out your birthday on Facebook or elsewhere. People can use that plus your place of birth to figure out your social security number. Many people on Facebook list their birthday, mention how old they are on the their birthday, and have links to the town they grew up in. Not good.

Fraud and Identify theft is really starting to effect people with or without their consent. You really do have to start looking for ways to protect yourself from people trying to scam you.

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