“…Most people have a good idea of how to protect their houses from burglars, but few know the best ways to protect their identity and prevent identity theft.” Money for the Rest of Us has a fantastic article that draws parallels between protecting your identity from identity thieves and protecting your home from robbers.
Don’t open your door for just anyone. You wouldn’t let just anyone into your home, so don’t let just anyone have access to your personal records. Check with your employers, school, and financial institutions to see what documents they put your personal information on. Some schools still use Social Security numbers as the student ID number. And many employers put your entire social security number on your pay-stub. Ask to see what alternatives are available.
Change your locks. If you suspect someone has a key to your home or if you’ve moved recently you would change your locks. The same goes for passwords. If you suspect something, change your passwords immediately. Moreover, change your passwords every 4-6 months. (Think about it, if you could change the locks to your house for free you might do this more frequently, too).
Don’t hang $100 bills or fancy jewelry in front of the window. That’s right- you wouldn’t hang all your valuables in front of the window so thieves know exactly what you have and where they can find it- would you? I think not. Throwing your important documents into the weekly trash is just like hanging cash in the window. Identity thieves know exactly where where to find all of the information they need – in your trash. So, shred any paper with you personal information on it– name, telephone number, address, bank’s name, account numbers, SS#, etc. Remember, even junk mail needs to be shredded since it often contains credit card applications that can easily be filled out in your name.
10 Ways Protecting Your Identity is Like Protecting Your House – [Money for the Rest of Us]