7 Smart Moves to Prevent Identity Theft

Data breaches got you worried?

Hacker using laptop. Hacking the Internet.
(Image credit: scyther5)

Data breaches got you worried? We don’t blame you. Hacking is on the rise. Last year, hacking incidents exposed 160 million records, compared with 3.7 million in 2010, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, which tracks U.S. data breaches.

There’s not much you can do to guard your personal data when it’s in the hands of businesses or the government. But you can take steps to protect your identity in the areas under your control. We asked experts for their best advice on preventing identity theft and compiled their top recommendations. The tips are presented roughly in descending order of how severe the damage would be if an ID thief gained access to the information.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.