One of the sad truths is that identity fraud is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. This means that there is a good chance that your identity is vulnerable in some way or another. This can affect your credit rating, and even result in a drain on your accounts.
Identity fraud is a reality when it comes to protecting your personal finance. And more than just your credit cards are vulnerable. There are a number of places creative identity thieves can turn if they want the goods on your goods. Man vs. Debt offers 16 pieces of information that ID thieves are interested in:
- Social Security Number
- Birth date
- Full name and aliases
- Actual account numbers
- Online usernames and passwords
- Driver’s license number
- Passport number
- Banking PINs
- Mother’s maiden name
- Place of birth
- Expiration date and/or confirmation (security) code on debit and credit cards
- Physical address and previous addresses
- E-mail address
- Phone number
- Where you have your financial accounts
- Hobbies and memberships, as well as your employer
As you can see, that is quite a list. You should be careful to shred — I’ll say it again, shred — documents that have this information on it. No point in making things easy for ID thieves. Realize that the trash is a common place for these guys to get good information. Also, be careful of what information you give out, and where you give it. Do not give full account numbers to anyone who calls you on the telephone. When conducting transactions online, make sure you are on a secure site before entering information. When you are done, log out, empty the cache and close the browser window.
While there is no way to completely protect yourself, you can take precautions to make ID theft less likely, and less devastating to your personal finances.
Image source: johnmarkos via Flickr