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3 Tips To Help You Shield Yourself From Identity Theft

December is Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness month. Being the victim of identity theft can have a devastating and lasting effects on someone on a personal and business level. The stress of identity theft can effect productivity and the damage to one’s credit could mean the denial of a business loan.

Successful women in business are prime candidates as is any business professional, business owner or individual. Unfortunately, identity theft doesn’t pick favorites but people of high net worth or likely to have excellent credit ratings do make for prime targets.

Here’s a few things you can do to arm yourself from identity theft:

Shred sensitive documents: If someone wants to steal your identity bad enough, they’ll do so by any means necessary–and we mean any! Not even your trash is safe from a bad guy hoping to stumble upon a thrown out credit card statement or discarded W-2. Shred any document containing sensitive and/or personal information before you toss them into the garbage.

Review your credit report frequently: As the old saying goes: Knowledge is power. Get to know what’s on your credit report by checking all 3 bureau reports frequently. While doing this won’t exactly stop identity theft from happening to you, you’ll be able to spot suspicious activity quicker should an issue arise, lessening the effects. The FTC gives you access to your reports for free every 12 months. You can request your report here.

Ignore emails asking for personal information: We’ve all seen them: Emails that look like they’re from Bank of America or American Express telling you your account has been suspended and the only way to undo this is to click a link and verify your account. Don’t be alarmed! This is a classic phishing attempt. Reputable companies will never ask you for your password, account number or social security number in an email and messages like these should be ignored.

Being aware is the first step in empowering yourself and lowering the odds of becoming a victim. With this in mind, we encourage you to share this article with other women in business contacts. You just might help someone be pro-active and prevent a huge issue before it happens.

We also encourage you to post resources or information that might be additionally beneficial and help people protect themselves in the comments below.

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