5 simple ways to protect yourself from identity theft

You might think you’re doing everything you can to ward off those thieves, but there are always further steps you can take to secure your good name.

From taking care of your personal documents to tracking your name on advertising hit lists, there are a whole bunch of things you can do make sure your personal details are safe and secure from any nasty Internet thieves.

Read on to make sure you’re fully protected now.

1. It’s shreddin’ time

Nope, we don’t mean the ‘my arms are the size of trees’ gym guy kind of shreddin’. We mean actual, physical paper shredding.

That’s right, leaving paper documents containing vital personal information lying around is the easiest way to fall victim to an identity thief.  So tear, rip and shred your way through all paper documents, be they credit card statements, financial solicitations or whatever. You can leave your birth certificate though, you might need that…

2.  The Paper Trail

In true spy style you’re going to want to eliminate the paper trail of your transactions. That means don’t ever leave ATM or card receipts behind at the till. Even if you’re only buying a sausage roll from the self-service machines at Tesco. It’s just another risk that makes no sense. It takes literally two seconds to snatch up that flimsy bit of paper, so get on with it.

3. The big review

The easiest way to spot spending anomalies is to take a fine tooth comb to your statements and check yourself.

Anything that looks remotely out of the ordinary (it doesn’t have to be large amounts) is worth following up on with a quick call to the bank.

4. Mailbox meltdown

As far as email goes, you can hopefully rely on your service provider to give you a basic defence from hackers. But to be on the safe side it’s definitely necessary to secure your email.

Some ground rules are as follows. Never ever send financial details over email, it’s just not something you do if you want to keep your hard-earned money safe. Furthermore, make sure your inbox is kept up to date. So read everything, and file it accordingly, deleting important information you don’t need any more, or archiving it on your laptop away from prying eyes.

5. Who are you?

It’s very important to know who you’re dealing with on the Internet (or in any situation where your client isn’t sat in front of you). A faceless contact could be anyone if you don’t check them out. So be on the look out for people claiming to be someone high profile, but without any of the ususal verifications (eg. company email, contact details, no web trace etc).

A simple call is all you need to establish whether someone is who they say they are.