SUMMARY: Learn how to stay safe from offline threats.
The idea of tightening up security may have you picturing online passwords and high-tech encryption. Though it’s true many online threats persist, it’s also important to remember that protecting your identity offline is vital, too. Identity thieves can still target you in the “old-fashioned” ways, from the documents you dispose of at home to your wallet, mail, and more.
For these reasons, brushing up on ways to keep yourself safe offline is more important than ever, especially as thieves constantly look for ways to turn you into a victim. Here are our tips for protecting your offline personal information and more:1. Shred those documents. These include more obvious documents like account statements, old credit cards, offers of credit, and canceled checks, but you'll probably be surprised at what else should be shredded. These items include old photos and IDs, shipping labels, outdated boarding passes, and other travel documents. Each of these things contain information thieves could use to tap into your identity.
2. Don't neglect your mailbox. Taking a daily trip to your mailbox to pick up what's been delivered will help prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Plus, when you need to mail anything sensitive like bill payments, drop them off at the post office instead of leaving them in your box for pick-up. Even better, use Online Bill Pay.
3. Leave important documents in a safe place. This means not carrying your Social Security card, passport, or birth certificate with you wherever you go. Instead, keep them in a well-hidden place at home, like a safe or locked cabinet.
4. Don’t give out your financial information. Avoid giving information like your birthdate or Social Security number to others, whether over the phone or in-person - unless necessary, and only when you've verified the information needed is for a legitimate purpose.