In a new report, BankRate.com says two out of five Americans are either a victim of identity theft or they know someone who is.
Sandee Rains is trying to help as many people as possible protect themselves on the front end. Rains is a Financial Education Specialist with ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions.
"People don’t take it seriously enough until it happens to them,” says Rains. “It happened to me twice."
She want’s people to start with the basics by starting with getting their free credit report every 12 months.
Then, turn on all of your push alerts for banking and credit card accounts. These alerts can help you get in front of any purchases you know are fraudulent before it gets out of hand. Sandee also warns to protect your children and grandchildren as well.
"A lot of family members find that their children's social security numbers have been used by other family members," says Rains.
Rains says the last piece of free advice she has? SHRED EVERYTHING! Some of the easiest ways for someone to steal your identity is through your junk mail pile you may just be throwing in the trash straight from the mailbox.