The best identity theft protection can be hard to find and incorporate into your daily habits. Identity theft is becoming a crime of choice these days because it is so easy to get away with. It is approximated that over 7 million individuals fell victim to identity theft last year and this year is supposed to reach close to 10 million. Scary huh?

The good think is, you have a few options when it comes to protecting yourself from becoming an identity theft victim. Most of the thing that can, and will protect you, have to be done by you all the time. There are also services you can purchase that do a lot of the work of protecting your identity for you. No matter what, to get the best identity theft protection, you need to do some things yourself.

Here are a few things you can and need to start doing today.

You need to watch your mail like a hawk. Mail is one of the easiest ways for a thief to get a hold of your personal information. All they need to do is get a bank statement, medical bill, credit card bill, or others and your identity is toast. They can also steal other things out of your mail like money and items purchased over the internet or phone and are mailed to you.

Have you ever shredded your personal documents that you don’t want to keep around the house? How about those pesky credit card offers that you get in the mail every day? If you are already in the habit of tossing those in the mail, you are giving a dumpster diver the perfect opportunity to find and steal a new identity for him or herself. Go out today and buy a good shredder, not just a regular shredder, but a cross cut shredder that can shred up to 6 pages at a time. Shred everything! Even stuff that doesn’t need to be shredded. Better safe that sorry!

Be aware of shady store employees when paying by debit or credit card. You should never let your credit card be out of your sight. This has mostly been a problem in the restaurant industry when the individual serving you takes your card away to run it. How easy would it be for them to quickly write down your credit card information and start stealing money from you?

Never, never, ever give your personal information out over the phone, this is called phishing. This happens when someone calls posing as someone from your bank or credit card company asking you to verify your social security number. Don’t do it! They already have it and would never ask for that over the phone. Immediately hang up and call that institution and verify that it was not them and report it.

You just need to be aware of everything that is going on around you and in your personal life. You are smart and can protect yourself, but some people get lazy. Remember, the best identity theft protection can be done by you! Work hard to protect everything you have worked so hard to build.