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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

5 Tips You Can Use to Make Sure Your Identity is Safe

By Harvey Warmuth

Identity theft is an always present concern in today's society, so you really need to do what you can to ensure your identity is safe. Using your common sense is a great first step when it comes to securing your identity. You are the only one that truly suffers when your identity is stolen, so it is up to you to make sure you are safe.

The 5 tips outlined below are a great starting point to making sure that your identity is secure. You have to take the necessary precautions to ensure your identities security, so read the below suggestions.

1. Personal information in mail: The mail you receive on a daily basis probably contains a lot of personal information. This includes bank statements and credit card applications which can be used to steal your identity. Consider opting out of receiving credit card applications and start getting your bank statements delivered electronically, so that you eliminate a lot of your personal information from the regular mail.

2. Debit card issues: You might want to think twice when you use your debit card as a credit card. Because the money is taken out of your savings or checking account immediately, someone can very easily drain your account before you know what is going on. Use a real credit card instead because you will be better protected.

3. Check writing: Every time you write a check for a purchase, you are putting out your checking account number and routing number for anybody to see. This is sometimes all that a thief needs in order to steal from you. Stop writing checks - pay with a credit card or electronically.

4. Virtual credit card number: Many financial institutions are offering their clients a one-time use, virtual credit card number. Because these credit cards can only be used one-time, they are basically useless if they were to fall in the hands of a criminal.

5. Personal information kit: You need to keep track of all of your account numbers associated with all of your bank accounts. You also need to make copies of important documents including your social security card and passport. You will need this information should you ever become a victim of identity theft, so now is the time to organize your financial life.

The above tips are designed to help keep your identity from being stolen. It is also a great idea to make use of an identity theft protection plan offered by a reputable company. While you can try as hard as possible to not become a victim of identity theft, it is nice to know someone else is looking out for you as well.

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