7 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Identity

Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

One of my favorite commercials is a guy working out with his personal trainer. The trainer asks him if he’s been eating his vegetables every day. When he replies, “When I can,” the trainer bops him on the head. He could have had a V8!

Just like the man thought that eating his daily vegetables would be hard, sometimes protecting your identity seems like a chore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 7 “duh” steps you can take to protect your identity this holiday season and all year round.

  1. Inspect credit card statements. Make a habit of regularly looking through your credit card statements for strange looking activity. If you notice just one unauthorized charge, assume that someone out there will strike again, and again and again—unless you take immediate action and contact your credit card company.
  2. Shred documents with personal information. Thieves will rummage through your garbage and recycling searching for intact documents that show Social Security numbers, credit cards and bank account information, etc. The next best thing to a cross-cut shredder is scissors. Shear up anything that could be revealing, including credit card purchase receipts.
  3. Review your credit reports. At least once a year, review your credit reports from the three major bureaus. This way you’ll be able to spot any suspicious actions, such as a thief opening a credit card account in your name.
  4. Credit freeze. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you might want to consider putting a freeze on your credit.While this will prevent you from getting loans or credit cards until you unfreeze it, this will also block criminals from opening accounts in your name and smearing your credit.
  5. Limit accessibility. In addition to using a shredder or scissors, consider getting a safe where you can store sensitive documents and limit the number of credit cards you carry with you. Have a list of important phone numbers (e.g., bank, credit card companies) already made up, in the event that you need to contact them immediately upon realizing you have lost or someone has stolen your identity or your physical credit cards, wallet, etc. 
  6. Password protection. If your device is lost or stolen, will someone be able to simply pick it up and access all your data? They won’t if it is password protected. Don’t use your cat’s name as your password; rather create a complicated password with upper and lower-case letters and numbers.
  7. Use comprehensive security software. It is essential that all your digital devices have updated security software, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service that can safeguard your data and protect against identity theft.

For more tips on protecting your identity, check out the Intel Security Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Ginger Harper 12/12/2014 11:08 AM
ActiveRain Community
identity theft
identity protection
identity fraud
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Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent advice especially during this time of the year. Fraud seems to be getting out of control.  

Dec 11, 2014 09:08 PM #2
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Good morning Robert.  Another get and very informative post on protecting our identity.  Looks like I get an A on your list.  Hope you enjoy a great weekend.

Dec 11, 2014 09:10 PM #3
Mike Belobradic
Johnston & Daniel Oakville - Oakville, ON
Your Trusted Advisor in Oakville Real Estate

Great reminders. Plus, our due diligence in confirming client ID can also help to protect others in this regard.

Dec 11, 2014 10:11 PM #4
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

A good anti-virus program is a big help too. The other day it warned me about something and I veto-ed it and got a bug...Yes to doing OUR part...

Dec 11, 2014 10:35 PM #5
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Robert Siciliano wonderful reminder especially this time of year when the thieves would love our identity. 

Dec 12, 2014 01:09 AM #6
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     Hi, Robert.  We don't use any credit cards.  We keep the minimum amount of money in our online checking/debit card accounts.

Dec 12, 2014 06:12 AM #7
Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
New Home Team

I couldnt agree more. I check my credit/ bank cards every couple of days. i have had them hacked and we take no chances.

Dec 12, 2014 06:20 AM #8
Frank Castaldini
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco

Good reminder that being vigilant is important.  And with that passwords cause me some of the greatest consternation.  Price to be paid, I guess.

Dec 12, 2014 08:18 AM #9
Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

I do all those things but many people don't. I have gotten the people around me to practice these things now.

Dec 12, 2014 08:26 AM #10
Michael Ha Elmhurst
Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Corona, Middle Village - Elmhurst, NY
Woodside, Maspeth

Always be vigilant, there is a plethora of people lurking around the dark corners of the internet, they can even see you on your laptop camera if they want to. In the world of computers, everything is possible if you know how to navigate things. It's scary.

Being vigilant and NOT saving any information in your computer 's Hard Drive as much as possible really does prove powerful. 

Dec 12, 2014 08:33 AM #11
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!

Robert Siciliano. Thanks for the great tips. I need to make a better practice to watch my identity

Dec 12, 2014 10:33 AM #12
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

It is important to protect your identify.  I'm in on this one.

Dec 12, 2014 11:02 AM #13
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have done a fraud alert a few times when something has occured but never and out and out freeze.  Perhaps I should do that.

Dec 12, 2014 11:33 AM #14
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Robert Siciliano actually I need to start looking at my credit card statements more cautiously - I am little lazy on that. So far it's okay but....

Dec 12, 2014 12:58 PM #15
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

Hi Robert, it is sad and scarey that we have to do so much to protect our identity.

Dec 12, 2014 01:33 PM #16
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Great, common-sense suggestions, Robert. Hopefully, people will follow at least a few of these tips.

Dec 12, 2014 08:11 PM #17
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the great tips. I will share these with others.

Dec 12, 2014 09:33 PM #18
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

How does one freeze their credit?

Dec 12, 2014 10:51 PM #19
Connor Dowd
Middletown, RI
2013 Newport Realtor of the Year

great tips!

Dec 16, 2014 12:21 AM #20
Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624 - Draper, UT
Broker, Results Real Estate

So many people think it could never happen to me, that is until it does.  Great list of steps for everyone to take.  I had my purse stolen when I was 18 and learned the hard way how easy it is for someone to pretend they are you.  Luckily, this was before the internet and I lived in a small college town. The local grocery store knew me and when the gentlemen tried to use my checks they asked him for the ID and were able to snag him as he was running out of the store.  I got off easy but I did find out that he had already called the bank and tried to reorder ATM cards and checks, luckily I had already notified the bank and put a freeze on everything.  I had to keep calling them everyday until I was able to replace all of my information and open new accounts but that hassle is nothing compared to the hassle someone would have to endure now.

Feb 12, 2015 02:47 AM #21
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