If you have never experienced the nightmares of identity theft then you should consider yourself lucky. Identity theft can be a costly, time-consuming, very real problem for those that it happens to. If it does happen to you, you can find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of telephone calls, letters and other correspondence in what basically amounts to a fight for your life.

There are ways for you to combat this though. These tips can help you prevent the nightmares of identity theft. Giving out your personal information to the wrong people can lead you into a world of hurt and frustration. So follow these steps and protect yourself and those you love from this harsh reality.

None of this is hard, you just have to take the time and do them. If you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing your are protected then take the time right now and make these simple changes in your routine to help you get protected. Even make notes to remind yourself if you have to.

Start by no longer putting sensitive information in your mailbox. Do not put remittance for your bills in your mailbox or write account numbers on the outside of your envelopes. There are people put there who prey on mailboxes looking specifically for your personal information. After you pay your bills, do not throw the unneeded bill away in the trash, shred it so the thieves cannot get your information from the old bill.

If you go out of town, first do not post it on any of the social networks. If it is possible for someone to find your house from your profile then you will be at risk for not only a break in but identity theft as well. Ask the post office to hold your mail until you get back. Never leave your mail sitting in the mailbox overnight always get it as soon as you can.

When you are out shopping and need some extra cash from the ATM, always shield the number pad and screen from the rest of the world when you punch in your PIN. You never know who is looking over your shoulder and may even be using their phone to photograph and even video what you are doing.

You also need to be careful that you are using a secure website when ordering things online or paying your bills online. Most websites do use secure sites and the possibility of someone getting your information is very slim. Remember all your PINs and passwords, too, because if you take your laptop to the local coffee house to work you do not have the secure location like you do when you are at home.

Do not forget that the government has allowed every consumer the right to see their credit report once a year. Get it and check it over for mistakes and any fraudulent accounts or bad reports. You are entitled to get your report from all three credit bureaus and can stagger them throughout the year so you know what is going on and can keep on top of things to prevent the nightmares of identity theft.