10 Steps to prevent Identity Theft

1. Shred your documents before throwing them away. Shred all credit card statements, and offers in the mail before tossing them, and anything with your personal information on it

2. Don't carry important information like your social security card or birth certificate on you. Keep them in a safe place.

3. Watch your bank statements every month. Make sure there are no unauthorized charges that you didn't make. Keep track of balances for anything unusual.

4. Monitor your credit. Get a credit report at least once per year. Consider using a monitoring service which will alert you to changes in your credit for a small fee.

5. Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers. This will lessen the chance of one being intercepted and opened without your knowledge.

6. Don't give out personal information over the phone, unless you have called the company and you know who you are dealing with. Never respond to telemarketers.

7. Use secure passwords for all your computer accounts. Don't use your name or birthday, but instead choose random combinations of letters and numbers. It may be harder to remember, but it will make your accounts very hard to crack.

8. Cancel credit accounts that you aren't using anymore. These are an open invitation to fraud.

9. Mail bills from a post office or mailbox, never from home. Credit thieves can take these right from your mailbox before the postman and steal your information.

10. Consider using an identity theft protection service. The changes of becoming a victim while using these services are close to 0.

Resources:

Online Credit Reports
Identity Theft Protection Service
Opt Out of Credit Offers