How to Prevent & Survive Identity Theft


By Ann G.

Identity theft is increasingly common, and we all should be aware of how to protect ourselves—it really could happen to any one of us! It takes some work to theft-proof your life, but it is far less work than it takes to fix the problem after there has been a breach. Here are some sites that offer practical tips and habits that will help!

First take a look at this great set of resources from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It lays it all out—how identity theft can happen, what thieves will do with your information, and how it will affect you, but also many great tips for preventing theft (shredding is a big one—perhaps come to one of our shred events?) and for what to do if the worst comes true.

Next, check out some sites from other agencies that deal with this issue all the time—for example, the Federal Trade Commission, the IRS, the US Postal Service, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission. Despite the heavy duty agency names, these pages are accessible and helpful! You might also want to look at the Identity Theft Resource Center’s site.

Cover image for Identity Theft AlertThen, try out some of these Library resources! Two recent books by author and attorney Steve Weisman, Identity Theft Alert: 10 Rules You Must Follow to Protect Yourself From America’s #1 Crime, and 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age, lay out a program which will put you in good shape to resist being a target.

SurviveIDtheftHow to Survive Identity Theft, by David Holtzman, takes you through the process of repairing your credit and reestablishing your financial life after a theft. And Erik Sofge’s Popular Mechanics: Who’s Spying on You? gives you insider information about the technology and techniques for committing this crime.

This post is part of The Seattle Public Library’s celebration of Money Smart Week—check out the many programs and resources, at a branch near you!

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