Identity theft has never been a bigger problem than it is now. However, it has been talked about for years as a growing concern, and consumers have been warned to protect themselves. Now you even have companies and sites posing as entities that can help people protect their identities, but they are actually out to steal them. What do you do in this day and age to stay on top of everything and make sure you don't end up in a world of hurt?

Protecting your identity is about much more than just choosing a service to do it for you. It definitely pays these days to look at those companies that offer a helping hand though. Yet, they and all the experts want you to know that its proactive consumers in general that stay protected. Everything financially is handled electronically these days it seems and in so many different ways. It can certainly be difficult to keep track of it all, right?

What is the most important thing when it comes to identity protection? Your social security number is definitely the primary concern. With a few other pieces of information, thieves can do all kinds of things to wreck your life when they have your social security number. For the record, you never want to have your social card on your person or have your number written down or on another type of card for any reason. That is just going to make it that much easier for thieves to get their hands on your personal information.

Think about how many times you've had to enter your social security number online. It seems that it can't be avoided in so many ways, and that is why you want to know as much as possible about Internet security in relation to your identity. Again, there are companies and programs that can help you with that. Familiarize yourself with phishing threats so that you don't fall prey to scams and people that are trying to extract personal information from you.

Do you regularly check your credit report? You want to be sure that no one has hijacked your credit or personal information in general, and what's on your credit report can clue you in. Also, when it comes to handling your business online, what do you do about your passwords these days? If you use the same password over and over again, that's not good. Passwords also need to be stronger than ever these days, with capital letters, symbols and numbers so that they are harder than ever to crack.

You might have been told not to keep your passwords written down, but these days it's actually better to have a written record. You can store this written record of passwords in a safe place. If you have them stored electronically, they can more easily be found. If you use a bunch of different passwords, it's going to be more difficult to remember them, hence the written record. Make sure you change them often, too. All in all, identity theft protection requires that you take certain steps as you can see, and again, there are companies that make it their business to help you do just that.