How to Protect Your Identity

While you learned about algebra‚ the table of elements‚ and the French Revolution back in school‚ your teachers probably failed to give you the information you'd need to help protect your identity. Guarding yourself against the threat of identity theft is a vital part of being an adult‚ but many relying on the education system to impart that wisdom may have left you ill-equipped or simply ill-informed about how damaging this crime really is.

Here are a couple lessons you learned in school that may be getting in the way of you taking steps to protect your own identity:

Sharing with others

The phrase “sharing is caring” is a favorite among elementary school teachers‚ and it is true that when it comes to crayons and cookies you should be cooperative and grant others access‚ but if you are trying to protect your identity‚ you'll need to adopt a different philosophy.

Sensitive information like your Social Security number should only stay between you‚ the government and a few other parties (your employer‚ for example). You need to guard your Social Security card and birth certificate with great care‚ only allowing others to see or handle these documents when it is absolutely necessary.

Don't be a tattle-tail

If you think that you may have become a victim of identity theft‚ don't let the criminal who wronged you get away with it! Contact the local authorities‚ put a fraud alert on all of your accounts and file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission. This will hopefully help to protect your identity from further harm.