Nobody is going to declare, “Today is the day I’m going to let a thief steal my identity.” Yet, the reality is that there are a number of frequent mistakes we have all made at one point or another which may give a thief the opportunity to take advantage and steal our identity.

Does this really mean you need to become paranoid and never leave your home? Of course, it doesn’t! It just means you need to take some straight forward precautions as you go about your daily business. Avoiding these common identity theft mistakes can help you go a long way to safeguarding what you have earned and the reputation you have developed.

Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Nowadays everyone has a cell phone and we have all had the pleasure of listening in on conversations that were not our own. If you have ever overheard someone else’s cell phone conversation, then understand that it can happen to you, as well.

Does this mean we should not take calls? No, but when we are out in a public place we should not be discussing any financial matters nor any other account-related information on a cell phone. If and when you need to discuss this type of information, call back when you are alone.

Don’t think this is a serious problem? Next time you are near someone chatting on their cell phone, press the record button on your smartphone. How easy was that?

Keep Your Social Security Card Secure

There is not a reason why you need to carry your Social Security card around with you. This is by far the most valuable password you will ever have. It unlocks all of your personal information. You do not want to take the risk of having that lost or stolen.

If you cannot memorize the number, then do not write it on a piece of paper and put it in your purse or wallet. A thief will know preciously what that is. Memorize your number. If you ever need to show your card when starting a new job, then show it and immediately lock it away again for safekeeping.

Be Aware of Who You Are Chatting With Online

Due to the many social media platforms available online such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter we can easily increase our social circle and make all kinds of new friends. These are groups of people that share common points of view and interests.

They are our communities online. However, just because someone uploads a friendly picture online and seems to be like-minded does not always mean it is so. Some of these people might be scammers that are trolling for important information that they can steal and then sell.

Innocent random questions can be used against you. How many accounts do you have that use your mother’s maiden name as the password? If you have made a cyber friend and begin discussing where your families are from, then it’s not a stretch to discover that maiden name.

If you tell someone the city where you were born and they get hold of a copy of a birth certificate and they can use that to get a Social Security card in your name! There’s an easy way to avoid all of this. Before you become too close and start sharing your personal information, pick up a phone and talk to your new cyber friend. Ensure they are who they claim to be!

You only have one identity, so keep it safe and secure!