10 Million people have been victims of identity theft to date. In this digital age, technology allows us to transfer information farther and faster than ever before. As such, it is harder to secure that information from prying eyes.
Stolen social security numbers are a major source of information for identity thieves. You have an increased risk of having your social security number stolen if you leave government related documents lying around, such as tax forms. People who do not shred or hide any document with their social security number on it are at a higher risk for identity theft. People can open credit card accounts in your name and apply for a plethora of other services using the number before you are able to remedy the situation.
Identity theft can also occur when you give out your contact information too willingly. People often provide their driver's license number or home address and telephone number without any qualms. These people, however, are at the greatest risk for identity theft. It's possible for identity thieves to use this basic information to impersonate you online, signing up for internet services and accounts on a variety of websites. To avoid this, refrain from leaving documents that provide this information around your home or in your trash unshredded. Also make sure you never share this information unnecessarily, especially not on the public parts of social networking sites.
Another source of identity theft is credit card fraud. People at risk for credit card fraud are those that input their credit card number on insecure websites and use their credit card with unverified businesses or individuals in the real world. To avoid this, make sure you keep your credit card information secure and that you are aware of the accreditation of the business or individual to whom you are providing this information. When you're shopping online, never enter your credit card information into a site that you're not totally comfortable with. It could be a scam built to collect credit card numbers.
Make sure you educate yourself on credit and credit fraud basics. If you would like some more advanced information on how to keep yourself secure from identity theft, check out the Federal Trade Commission's Fighting Back Against Identity Theft page. Given that identity theft can happen to even the most careful people, considering identity theft protection services is important. There are many services available that can aid you in recovering from identity theft and keeping secure. Agencies like LifeLock, among others, can give you peace of mind regarding your security.