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Simple tips to protect yourself from Identity Theft

by Stuart Langridge of www.combat-identity-theft.com 

annoyed lady running and throwing papers Modern identity theft can take many forms. At one extreme, it can be simply using a Web 2.0 property to impersonate another person with no financial motivation. 

At the other extreme, it can involve applications for loans in the name of another person for tens of thousands, leaving the unsuspecting victim with massive debts.

In reality, against a professional and motivated identity thief, there is very little that any of us can do to protect ourselves in the modern information world. However, it is possible to make ourselves harder targets which may often be enough to put off a would be fraudster. This works simply because of one overriding reason - most people are wide-open to identity theft, meaning that there is always easier prey elsewhere.

These self-protection steps are actually quite easy to take and simply need to be integrated into daily life.

1. Buy and use a crosscut paper shredder. The vast majority of the population still throws away bank statements and utility bills intact. This means that anyone that comes into contact with that paper in the future has an automatic advantage in gathering information. 

Documents to be shredded include old bank statements, utility bills, telephone records and unwanted direct mail. In other words, everything that has personal information on - including name and address.

man going through shredder
cartoon pen with arms and legs 2. Buy and use a gel pen for writing all cheques. You would be amazed just how simple it is to use a couple of everyday kitchen items to remove the ink from a cheque! Fraudsters protect the signature and remove everything else, giving them a signed blank cheque! The gel in gel pens soaks into the paper and is then impossible to tamper with or remove. 

3. Check your credit report each year. If you are the target of an identity theft assault, unusual items may start to appear on your credit file. By taking a close look at the information on your file (held with companies like Experian) on a regular basis, you might spot unusual new occurrences. Seeing these things early provides the opportunity to prevent future larger items.

4. Regularly update your online security. The internet is a dangerous place and all personal computers need to have strong anti-virus and firewall protection software. This software should be set to update EVERY time your pc accesses the internet. This will mean that you will always have the latest security settings available. devil standing next to computer
hand with power drill trying to destroy computer hard disk 5. Destroy hard disks on personal computers. The amount of data possible to be gleaned from an old household personal computer is terrifying. It is often possible to find bank login details, credit card information, a history of websites visited, travel information and much more. Therefore, when planning to dispose of a pc, it is important to remove the hard disk and render it unusable. This is actually easier said than done and takes some real effort. Hard disks are 'hard'. 






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