Things You Will Need
Computer firewalls, Anti-virus software, Anti-spyware software, paper shredder
Everyone should check their credit reports from all three reporting bureaus often and watch bank and credit card statements carefully. Look for any unauthorized ATM withdrawals, debit or credit charges. Also, know the billing dates of your monthly statements. Bills that do not arrive on time may have been misdirected by identity thieves. Identity theft can happen quickly.
Do everything possible to protect personal information such as social security numbers, credit and debit card numbers and any other personal information that could be used to steal an identity. Always shred financial documents and paperwork that have personal information. Also, keep your personal information in a secure place in your home.
Never give out financial or personal information over the phone or the internet, unless the company is known and trusted. Also, always try to be the one to initiate the phone call and do not click on links sent in unsolicited email. Many criminals will do what is called "phishing". This is where the criminals will call or send an internet e-mail and request information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and other personal information by claiming to be from a trusted company or government agency.
If you are, or suspect, you are a victim of identity theft you should immediately report it to the three credit reporting bureaus and have them put a "fraud alert" on your credit files. You should also file a police report and get a copy of the report to help you protect yourself legally when dealing with creditors. In addition, you should call and notify each creditor by asking to speak to someone in the security or fraud department and close any accounts that are believed to have been compromised by an identity thief.
Always be diligent and protective of your identity. Criminals are always coming up with new tricks and scams. It is important to stay ever vigil and check your credit reports often. Stay up to date with the latest scams.
Tips & Warnings
Remember, if someone really wants the information it is next to impossible to keep them from getting it but you can make it hard for them. Unfortunately, in many cases the perpetrators of these crimes are untraceable and are therefore impossible to locate and prosecute. This is in spite of the best efforts of law enforcement agencies at all levels.