We all hate the idea of losing our identity. We all hate it even more if it turns out that it was stolen and is being used by someone else. So what can we do to prevent it? These 7 tips make a good starting point!
The first thing you have to keep in mind to prevent identity theft is the power your personal information gives the thief. This is especially important if you have a business such as real estate with a lot of assets. Asset Protection helps, but you have to also take steps to protect your identity!
A thief can use your social security number, credit card number, password, PIN, etc. to make transactions under your name, which can cost you both hard-earned money and a lot of time trying to fix the damage. So, don’t give them that power.
1. Keep Important Documents Safe and Secure. Never allow anybody to fix your wallet, purse, or bag where you have IDs, bank statements, credit cards, and other important documents to prevent identity theft. You shouldn’t be complacent, even with those close to you. Studies show that in around 26% of identity theft cases, victims knew the perpetrators.
2. Properly Dispose Important Documents. Shred or tear up receipts, personal applications, bank or credit card statements and scatter them among different waste bins to prevent identity theft. Better yet, burn them before throwing them away. Do not leave transaction receipts behind after making a purchase to prevent identity theft. Never leave your receipt at the ATM machine.
3. Do Not Giving Out Personal Info Over the Phone. Never give your account details and other similar information to someone who calls you asking for it. To prevent identity theft, ask to ring them back, or bother to see them personally at their office before giving out any details. Better yet, to prevent identity theft, give out details only if you initiated contact.
4. Bringing Only IDs You Need. It’s easier to keep track of your IDs on a daily basis if your wallet only has current ones or those that you actually use for transactions during the week. To prevent identity theft, leave IDs you don’t particularly need at home, locked up in a safe place.
5. Fill Out Only the Last Four Digits at the Bank. Did you know that writing only the last four digits of your bank account number when filling up deposit or withdrawal forms will suffice? The teller can take care of the rest. Also, to prevent identity theft, tear up any transaction slips you want to discard, and toss them in the bin. Do not leave them on the counter.
6. Be Constantly Aware of Your Surroundings. During a purchase, make sure your credit or debit card is handed right back to you after a transaction. Cup your free hand over the hand that is punching in your PIN, especially at an ATM machine.
7. Stay Informed! Take time to research the latest modus operandi of identity thieves. You should be especially concerned if you use the Internet to make financial transactions. To prevent identity theft, you will have to be on your guard against web spoofing (using a replica of a trusted site to manipulate your transaction) and bogus e-mail.
Free eBook: Asset Protection Strategies
Download this FREE eBook, "Asset Protection Strategies for Real Estate Investors". It will show you how to use land trusts in conjunction with LLCs, corporations, and family limited partnerships to protect yourself, your family, and your business from lawsuits, taxes, liabilities, and other financial pitfalls.
Attorney William ("Bill") Bronchick, host of Legalwiz.com, has authored six best-selling books and is sought nationwide for his 25+ years of real estate and legal knowledge. He has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, such as CNBC, TIME Magazine, USA Today, Investor Business Daily, Forbes, and the LA Times, to name a few. William Bronchick is the co-founder and past President of the Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors and the Executive Director and founder of the College of American Real Estate Investors. Click on the "About" link above for more information on William Bronchick. Frank Pulley is an experienced real estate investor and foreclosure specialist. He is the director of William Bronchick's Coaching and Mentoring Programs. For more info, contact [email protected]