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Protecting Yourself

After IBM informed me about their data tape loss/theft with sensitive personal data, I've spent many hours educating myself about identity theft. I've probably visited about 15 - 20 blogs and as many web sites. Whether you are an ID theft victim or not, there are actions all consumers must do to protect ourselves. (Future blog entries will cover what companies should do to protect personal data.)

For me, it was important to first learn about the variety of ways thieves steal personal data. A thief with your SS# can do a lot more damage than a thief with your credit card number. I realized that I needed to do several things to protect my identity. (For examples: shredding snail-mail alone is not enough. Credit-monitoring alone is not enough.) Some actions I'd already taken. Others I started doing. I've found that some actions don't cost a thing except my time and a mild change in habits.

With any Google search, you'll probably find plenty of sites and blogs with recommendations about how to protect your identity. I like these sources because they provide clear, easy-to-read instructions with easy-to-follow lists for the first-time reader:

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