Security and Safety

How to Prevent Identity Theft

By Staci Parks 6.24.19

“Identity theft” has quickly become a buzzword in our fast-paced society. But don’t dismiss it.

In 2017, approximately 16.7 million Americans were victims of identity theft and more than $16.8 billion was stolen, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Texas was No. 3 in the nation for cybercrime in 2017 with 21,852 reported cybercrime victims, according to an FBI report on internet crime.

And since credit and debit cards have adopted the chip, thieves have adapted their sinister approaches by way of various scams.

So, how can you protect yourself and your family? Here are some basic tips for how to prevent identity theft.

Types of Identity Theft

There are several types of identity theft that can impact you, but here are four common scenarios:

  • Tax ID
  • Medical ID
  • Social ID
  • Child ID

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Taking a few easy precautionary measures can help keep your identity — and your finances — safe.

  • Be cautious. Don’t needlessly give out personal information such as your birthdate or address.
  • Store your Social Security card. Don’t carry it around in your wallet or purse. Only share the number when necessary.
  • Keep an eye out for strange or unauthorized transactions on your bank and credit card statements.
  • Invest in a shredder to dispose of receipts, banking statements, expired credit and debit cards, and credit card offers you don’t want. (Also consider these document-destroying ideas.)
  • Inspect your credit report at least once a year to make sure there aren’t any open accounts you didn’t open yourself.
  • Consider a credit freeze, which prevents anyone from opening a credit card or utility account in your name.
  • Hold your mail if you’re going out of town. You can simply inform the U.S. Postal Service.

How to Protect Your Kids

You may already keep an eye on your kids’ safety, their use of computers and the internet, and who they spend time with. But you should know their information could still be accessed without your, or their, knowing.

  • Ask how your child’s personal information is being used and stored at school. Many school forms ask for sensitive identifying information.
  • Run a credit report for your child’s name to see if it has been used to open accounts.
  • Think about freezing your child’s credit until they’re 18.

If you’re looking for more ways to protect yourself and your loved ones, give your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent a call. They’ll help you set up a 360 Review, which can pinpoint any weaknesses in your defense. Learn more here about how to prevent identity theft online.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2019 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance