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How do I Avoid Identity Theft?

There are a number of different ways you can avoid identity theft and one of the best things is to remain vigilant against attempts by others to gain access to your private information. Some practical steps you can take include checking your mailbox frequently, dropping sensitive mail off at the post office, and avoiding links in emails from your bank. You should also consider ways to actively avoid identity theft such as regularly checking your credit score, watching your bank account for unusual activity, and keeping your computer secure through antivirus programs, firewalls, and updating your computer operating system (OS).

Identity theft can occur in a number of different ways, though some of the most common involve stealing your mail and running online scams or fraud over the Internet. By protecting yourself as much as you can against some common means of identity theft, you can more easily avoid identity theft and the time and expense required to recover from such a crime. Controlling and protecting your mail is one of the best ways to ensure your information is safe and to avoid identity theft.

While it can be difficult to keep an eye on your mailbox at all times, you should at least try to check your mail each day and do so as close to the time of delivery as possible. Your mail can be stolen en route to you due to unscrupulous workers within the post office, but this type of theft is usually less likely. A lot of mail theft occurs after delivery and before you have checked your mailbox. By checking your mail often, you can prevent this type of theft and avoid identity theft through stolen mail.

Any bills you have paid should be filed away in your storage system, or destroyed through shredding. You should also shred any credit card offers or similar offers you receive through the mail, rather than just throwing them away. Someone can easily steal your trash when it is out for pickup, and find a discarded credit card bill or offer and use it to steal your identity.

Phishing scams and other types of online fraud are often used to steal private information, and you can help yourself avoid identity theft by remaining careful when navigating the Internet and using your computer. If you receive an email from your bank that asks you to log into your account for some reason, do not follow any link in the email to access your account. Open a separate page and manually navigate to your bank’s website to access your account and ensure that it is not a scam aimed at stealing your information.

Similarly, you can more easily avoid identity theft through your computer by having an antivirus program and keeping it up to date. You should also have a firewall on your computer or network to keep other people from accessing your information. Keeping your OS updated can also help you avoid identity theft because newer versions often fix security flaws that older versions may have had.

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