In the course of the day you may write a check at the drugstore, charge tickets to a concert, rent a car, call home on your cell phone, or apply for a credit card. Chances are you don't give these routine transactions a second thought. But others may. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, affecting half a million new victims each year.
WAYS TO PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT
Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know with whom you're dealing.
Shred all documentation, including preapproved credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and statements you are discarding, and other financial information.
Create hard-to-guess passwords with at least eight characters and that include a mix of numbers and both uppercase and lowercase letters.
Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if bills don't arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit account and changed your address.