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Identity theft is a real and palpable crime in today’s culture. Unfortunately news headlines and social media stories have exposed the ugly truth about the frequency of identity theft and the downstream effects it can have on an individual, family, or corporation. While the threat remains very apparent and real, there are proactive measures one can take to help protect personal information. By taking control and being mindful, identity theft risks can be lowered and managed.

Creating strong passwords is the first step to preventing identity theft issues. Most website interfaces require passwords to include numbers and special symbols, and while that requirement can be seen as a nuisance, those steps are positive preventative measures for users. Using the same password for an extended period of time is also not a healthy practice; change your passwords at least every three months to avoid potential thievery. The best thing you can do is create a really random password and record it only on paper (don’t store it in your phone!) and make sure you never ‘auto-save’ your login information into websites.

Check your credit report often. Monitoring your credit report offers a detailed look at your history, and any strange behavior that might be occurring without your knowledge. You can order once a year for free through each of the 3 national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experiean, and TransUnion. Along with reviewing your credit report, it is important that you review your bank statement accounts and any other credit card accounts in your name. While you may have a ‘running total’ or a separate check register to keep track of your available balance, it’s important to cross reference that with the true bank-produced version. This cross-reference will alert you to any phony charges or unusual activity within your personal finances.

And finally, don’t overshare on social media. Thieves are constantly hunting on social media for easy prey, and unassuming info like your contact information (e-mail or cell phone number.) With just a nugget of information, such as your birthdate or even your children’s names, an identity thief can piece together enough details to scam your accounts. Many social media accounts require a two-step verification, which requires the site to check in with you if your username attempts to log in from a new place. Accepting 2 step loin verifications as well as monitoring your sharing on social media greatly decreases the risk of identity theft.

Trusting a professional company, such as Document Destruction, to care for your paper shredding needs is the highest level of protection you can provide for your family or business. Document Destruction destroys and recycles all documents in a timely and consistent manner that aligns with current best identity protection practices.Document Destruction, serving Cincinnati, Dayton, and Lexington, is your small business solution for your paper shredding needs. Always striving to improve your business effectiveness, security, and overall performance, Document Destruction is committed to satisfaction. Call today or visit www.docdestruction.com for more information.