Help Protect Your Loved Ones from Identity Theft

Identity thieves don't just target one demographic, which makes 100 percent protection from identity theft practically impossible. Everyone from toddlers to centenarians are vulnerable to identity theft, which is especially troubling because young children and the elderly may not be equipped with the proper knowledge or means to safeguard their identities. Even your spouse, who you may expect would be fully capable of shielding their identity, might be too busy or careless to actually do it.

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:

Here are five steps you should take to help your family protect itself from identity theft.

  1. Buy a shredder — Documents like bank statements or records that may contain personal identification information should be shredded immediately. Shred any mail like this before you throw it out.
  2. Lock up sensitive documents — Your families Social Security cards, birth certificates and passports should all be hidden away in a safe secure location — away from thieves.
  3. Keep an eye on the internet — It’s easy to fall victim to identity theft when you visit non-secure websites. Make sure the virus software and security features on the family computer are up to date.
  4. Check those credit reports — The FTC recommends that everyone over the age of 16 at least check to see if they have a credit report, and then inspect it thoroughly for signs of theft.
  5. Hire some extra help — Complete protection from identity theft can never be guaranteed, but when you use a trusted identity monitoring service, you can rest a little easier knowing someone else is helping to watch out for your loved ones.