Easy Ways to Stop Identity Theft Before It Starts

Most types of theft are temporary.

Did someone steal your TV? You can get a new TV. The same applies if someone steals your car or your other possessions. You might not have the money to replace your items right away, but the crime itself is momentary.

When someone steals your identity, it's a far more long-term crime. The results can keep coming back to bite you for the rest of your life. Here's how to stop identity theft before it starts.

Shred, Shred, Shred!

Chances are that you're throwing away your opportunity to prevent identity theft...in a literal way.

Be careful about what you throw in the trash. Don't throw out anything that has your personal information like your birth date, bank account information, or passwords. Above all, never throw away anything that has your social security number on it.

When in doubt, shred documents before tossing them in the trash. You can buy a basic home shredder for a minimal cost and it could save you thousands.

Accessorize Wisely

We all have our images of sleuths and hackers in our minds. Far too often, though, identity theft starts with something as simple as a pick-pocket.

To keep thieves away, choose your accessories with security in mind. Opt for anti-theft handbags instead of standard bags.

In addition, use wallets that block radio frequency identification, or RFID. While RFID crime appears to be limited, it's a simple change that and the possible consequence isn't worth the risk.

Freeze Your Credit

You may have heard about this after the major Equifax data breach. While the news isn't as hot today, it's still a good idea to freeze your credit.

When you freeze your credit, no one can open a credit account in your name. This includes a credit card, loan, or other potentially damaging accounts. When you want to apply for your own new credit, you'll need a code word or PIN to do so.

There is a catch: you will need to pay a small fee to freeze and unfreeze your credit. However, that fee pales in comparison to how much it could cost you if someone steals your identity.

Opt Out of Credit Card Offers

If you're like most people, you get credit card offers in the mail on a regular basis saying you've been "pre-screened" or "pre-approved." Did you know that junk mail can put your finances at risk?

Those offers are tied to your personal information because the credit card company has already run a credit check on you. The right thieves can use those offers to open accounts in your name.

To stop the offers in their tracks, you can opt-out of prescreened offers through a federal program.

Learning How to Stop Identity Theft

Despite what movies and TV shows would have you believe about high-tech hackers, it's small mistakes that put you at risk for identity theft. The tips above can help you stop identity theft before it takes control over your life.

To start taking charge of your security, shop our selection of anti-theft handbags today.