I recently took a trip to Canada and discovered that when you pay your bill at a restaurant, a portable credit card machine is brought to your table. The chip on your card is read, you then can add a tip either in dollars or percentage, a receipt is printed. Your credit card is never out of your possession. What a great way to help prevent ID theft, too bad in this country we don’t insist that our credit card never leave our possession.
Most countries have been using the chip cards for years, we have only just started and it is not yet fully implemented. Sometimes we are our worst enemy when it comes to protecting our identity. So what can you do, be vigilant and don’t get complacent.
For online safety, never use a password twice and make sure that your passwords are at least 14 characters in length, comprised of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Never use dictionary words. There is no way that you can remember your passwords if you are using them correctly, so do yourself a favor and get a good password manager. They can be one of your best investments. Also make sure that your computers are kept up to date and use a good internet security program that includes at the least, anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, and internet protection.
Your medical records and information are also fertile grounds for the ID thief. All medical providers, doctors, dentists, hospitals and other providers have your social security number along with your address and your other personal information. This is all they need to get credit as if they were you. To protect yourself, stop giving your social security number to medical providers. Keep track of your medical information and history, this is supposed to be online now. If you have Medicare, your social security number is your Medicare number, this is your government at work. You have the power to change this, use it.
There has been different discussions on credit monitoring services, are they worth it or not. Yes, you can do what they do, if you have the time. Others say to freeze your credit. My opinion is to get some level of credit protection, they will keep track of your credit cards, banks, and social security number and personal information, then send you monthly reports. If you should become a victim they will help you get your identity back and pay for it.