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Thursday, July 21, 2011

How To Keep Your Financial Information Safe


Keeping your financial and personal information safe can be very easy and requires very little effort. It is important to keep this information safe because if it gets into the wrong hands it can have a negative impact on both your credit and your life.

Protect Your Mail
Everyday, thousands of bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial records travel through the United States via mail. How do you keep this information protected? There are many things that can be done to keep your information safe. A good place to start is by having a residential mailbox that requires a key to open. The mail-man can drop letters in your locked mailbox but no one can retrieve them without a key. It is also a good idea to take your outgoing mail directly to the post office. This will reduce the chance of someone stealing your mail and ultimately stealing your financial information. It will also help if you keep track of the dates that important statements are delivered every month. If you don't receive a statement for the month, contact your financial institution immediately. Someone may have changed your address when they stole your information. When you will be out of town, have the post office hold your mail and pick it up when you return home. Performing these simple steps will help keep your mail safe.

Properly Dispose of Information
It is best not to throw any personal information in the trash. Once your trash goes in the dumpster or out to the curb someone may look through it and steal your information. It is best to invest in a cross-cut shredder and put any documents that contain information through it before putting them in the trash. You may also burn these documents if permitted where you live. You should dispose of any open credit card offers this way, too.

Online Protection
The Internet can be a great way to pay bills or keep up to date on your accounts, but it can also be a great way for thieves to steal your financial information. There are many ways to protect your information while using the Internet. A good way to start protecting your information online is to be sure that your computer is protected--this should include a firewall, virus, and spyware protection that is up to date. Beware of emails from your bank or credit card company that ask you for your account number, personal identification number, or passwords. These are generally phishing scams.

Online Security
There are many different steps to ensure that you have Internet security. When you visit a website, be sure that it is secure before you enter any personal information. There are a couple of ways to check if a website is secure. If the address bar begins with https: or if there is a padlock in the lower right corner, it is a secure site. On a secure website, information is sent through an encrypted server which will help prevent anyone from viewing it. Another way to protect your information online is to have a secure and complex password. You should not have the same password for all of your accounts and your passwords should not contain any personal information. They should contain a variety of alphabetical and numeric characters and should be changed often.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes about identity theft protection for IdentityTheft.net.

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