There is something you can do about preventing identity theft. Knowledge is power and here is where you become empowered!
Protecting Your Mail
Thieves would steal your mail from the garbage and even from your own mailbox. Don't let them! Make sure that every single piece of mail with any kind of identifying information on it is shredded before you throw it away. Simply tearing it into a few pieces is not adequate protection. This only provides the thief with a fairly basic jigsaw puzzle to your most valued information. Invest in a small shredder for your home. These are very inexpensive especially when you consider that the minimal cost of the item could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run, not to mention a huge headache. If you can't purchase one yourself then take your mail to work with you and use the shredder in your office.
A locked mailbox will not completely guarantee your protection from identity thieves but it certainly may help in dissuading their attempts to steal your mail. Look into purchasing a mailbox that has a slot in the top for the mail to be slid into but where you need a key to actually remove it. This way, if your mailbox is broken into you will at least know it right away and will perhaps be able to notify creditors, banks and other companies before any real damage is done.
What To Do When Identity Theft Occurs
All right, so it happened. Even with all of the precautions and care you've taken to protect yourself from thieves, somehow and someway they found a way to your personal and financial life.
“I did everything I could possibly do. I took the time to make myself aware and educate myself on the facts and this still happened…why?” Well, unfortunately sometimes there is no real answer to the question why, it just is what it is. You have to keep in mind that these perpetrators are professionals and they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal.
Just like you go to work everyday and perform your job with the proficiency and skills that you have acquired, so do they. Their job everyday is to rip off honest, hardworking and innocent people such as you and I. It's not fair and it never will be. They have made a huge mess of your life and you are the one who is stuck with the task of picking up the pieces and turning things right again. Sometimes you can build that fence higher, make the bridge more difficult to cross and even fill the moat with alligators, but inevitably there will always remain a weak and penetrable spot. Identity thieves are adept at looking for and seeking out those particular spots.
The most important thing for you to keep in mind right now is that regardless of how much damage was done and how bad the situation looks at present, it could always be worse. Think about what would have happened had you not already been so familiar with how identity theft works. You may not have been able to prevent it but you certainly knew how to recognize the fact that it was happening to you.