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Identity theft protection is a way of reducing your risk of becoming a victim of financial fraud. There are services that you can hire or a series of steps that you can take to reduce your risk. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity, credit report or property to obtain credit or financial instruments, such as loans or lines of credit.
There are three steps that you can take to increase your identity theft protection: reconcile your accounts regularly, use cash, and shred your personal documents. The steps necessary are simple, but require personal discipline to complete every month. Reconciling your bank account and credit cards is a fairly simple process, but one that most people avoid doing. The process is quite simple and involves two steps: keeping payment receipts and checking them against your monthly account statements. At the end of each month, set aside one hour to review your statements for additional activity.
Print out your account statements and check every single transaction against your receipts. Mark off the total value and date against the receipt. Check for any transactions that you do not have a receipt for. Contact the credit card company and ask for a copy of the receipt. This simple process can be done each month to track account activity to find unauthorized transactions and improve your identity theft protection.
Use cash to make your purchases. Identity theft requires information that is readily available in electronic transactions, but not with cash. The use of cash reduces your exposure to illegal data capture devices, Carry only a minimal amount of personal identification with you. If your wallet or purse is stolen, report it immediately.
Reduce your risk of identity theft by shredding all personal documents before throwing them out. Identify thieves often obtain personal information, such as your name, drivers license, address and other personal data from your trash. Purchase a small home shredder, use it for all documents with your name, and address on it.
There are services available from credit cards, banks and credit reporting firms that provide identity theft protection. These services charge an average of $15 US Dollars (USD) per month for monitoring every credit card and bank account that you have. Investigate these services before signing a contact to determine the exact level of support they are providing. Look for a liability amount to find out the level of coverage provided. Read the details of the contract very carefully, as many of these services have a minimum contract length of three months.
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