As our lives transition to a more online existence, we become more and more vulnerable to identity theft. With personal information like phone numbers, address, mother’s maiden name and social security numbers being entered into forms all over the Internet, we are playing right in to identity thieves’ hands. So how can you protect yourself? Here are a couple ways:

Be Aware of the Information You Are Giving

All an identity thief needs to open a credit card or bank account under your name is your social security number and a few pieces of personal information. Keep this information close to your chest. Don’t put your phone number and address on Facebook. Don’t email your social security number to anyone. Keep the amount of personal information about yourself online to a complete minimum. Keep a lock on your phone so if it is stolen, thieves can’t get access to your personal information. Overall, just make sure you are being protective of any of your personal information.

Protect Your Online Identity

There are many ways you can do this. First, make sure when you are plugging any bank information into any site that it is a secure site. How do you know it’s a secure site? It will start with https:// instead of http:// and will have a green lock next to the url. Also, you can use Chrome’s Incognito browser to help cut down on your personal information being stored on your browser. Lastly, invest in a security software program that has identity protection like protected environment browsers, anti-keylogging software and password protections.

Invest in Some Identity Theft Protection

Most identity theft protection is a good investment because not only does it monitor your credit reports, medical records and other key documents to make sure that no unusual activity is happening, but they also have special features that make it worth the money. TrustedID will protect your entire family for $20/month. Lifelock will monitor more black market identity theft sites than other identity theft protection services and will remove you from mailing lists, since junk mail can lead to identity theft. IdentityForce will fill out all the paperwork for you if you are a victim of identity theft. All of these services have a free trial so you can try them out, and most identity theft protection services offer a guarantee that will pay you back for any money that identity theft may cost your reputation.

If you are a victim of identity theft, most identity theft protection services can help you file the correct reports. If you don’t have an identity theft protection service, you need to file a police report and contact all of your credit cards to make sure they are aware of the situation. You should also put a freeze on your credit report so that no one can apply for credit under your name. If you ever need help with what to do about identity theft, the police can help.