Whether you run a business or are just an everyday consumer, you likely have a lot going on in your life. So, do you have time to stop and fight off an identity theft thief or two? In most cases, the answer will be a resounding no.
Unfortunately, that is not always a choice you get to have. As many American companies and consumers for that matter have discovered (especially in recent times), identity theft is a real and persistent problem.
With that being the case, what can you do to stem the tide, keeping identity theft thieves at arm’s length?
Have a Comprehensive Plan in Place
In order to put up a shield against identity theft, you first need a protection plan in place.
For starters, take the time and effort to review the best ID protection on the market. While there are various products and services out there, don’t automatically settle for something if you feel like you could do better, but you don’t feel as if you have the time or money to explore more in-depth.
There are services out there that will review the different I.D. theft protection companies and their various products, allowing you to make a more informed selection when all is said and done.
Once you have your protection plan ready to go and ultimately installed, the next great task is making sure you are still being as cognizant as possible about the threat that is out there.
Whether you run your own business all by yourself, have employees on your team, or you’re just a simple consumer looking peace of mind when it comes to identity theft, you have a responsibility of your own (actually more than one) when it comes to fending off I.D. theft thieves.
These responsibilities include:
- Monitoring your lifestyle – Yes, while a protection plan provider will watch your credit card/bank/online activities, look for any suspicious behavior etc. you still have a responsibility on your own (see more below). Remember, such a service can only do so much 24/7/365, so that’s where you come in. Be sure to be careful when using credit cards out in public, hopping on the Internet for business or pleasure, traveling and using computer servers you can’t with 100 percent certainty say are safe etc. And if you think your health records are off limits and/or of little or no interest to I.D. theft thieves, think again. Getting their hands on such information can be to them like striking gold, allowing them to gather up large swaths of personal data to then turn around and sell;
- Being an educated consumer or business owner – As mentioned a moment ago, you have to take on some degree of responsibility in protecting your identity, especially as it relates to your financial well-being. For example, if you go out to eat, don’t leave a credit card sitting on the table by itself for even a moment. The same holds true when it comes to receipts. If you are traveling and relying on a computer already set up in your hotel in say a business office or lobby area, do not do any work on it involving your bank account, Social Security account, work files that include customer data etc. You likely can’t say with 100 percent certainty that the server there is protected, so why take a chance on exposing personal data?
- Investing in your financial future – Finally, stop for a moment and think about how just one successful I.D. theft strike against you or your business (if you have one) could financially devastate you for years to come. While you may not be able to say that you have 100 percent protection in place, you can come pretty darn close to feeling that you do. When you have a company providing you with protection, along with making sure you are doing all the right things, you are investing in your financial future. Also make sure if you have a family that they too utilize smart financial practices in the home and when outside of it. This is especially important in not only protecting you, but also your children.
If you have not taken identity theft all that seriously up to this point, change that mindset as you move forward.
About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.