Identity theft happens — companies, service providers, and even the government has been hacked and there is a strong chance they may have your personal information. I was affected personally by the Office of Personnel Management/government hack which handles private information on countless people, including the family members of those who have security clearances. At least 18 million peoples’ information was illegally obtained in that attacks, generally blamed on the Chinese government. It’s no fun having to spending hours getting on the phone with credit companies, submitting paperwork disclaiming incidents, and other laborious tasks after your identity has been stolen. But there are some of the tricks to look for and ways to protect yourself from this happening to you.
The most important piece of your personal information to protect is your social security number. There are times you may be required to share it — cable, credit checks, etc. — but outside of that, do not offer it up, or at least know how they plan to use it. Once that information is out there identity thieves can open up credit lines to make purchases, and much more. And changing your social security number won’t get you out of trouble, either — it’s still linked to your original number.
Like SSNs, everyone has passwords and it stinks when the wrong people get a hold of them. I suggest using…
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