Identity theft is so widespread these days, almost everyone including me, has been affected at one time or another. When it does happen, it is hard to discover how exactly it happens, but the sooner you discover the better. This way you can close the affected accounts before too much damage is done.
Besides being vigilant about shredding your sensitive documents, there is one important area that I did not mention: develop strong passwords. Coming up with good passwords consistently has become a challenge for me. I work with various log in systems at work, and I have had to come up with over 20 passwords in the past year alone. Then I have to come with passwords for sites I use at home, and it becomes unmanageable after a while.
When asked to come up with a new password, some sites will automatically let you know the “password strength.” My first attempts will usually result in a “weak namby-pamby password!” or “is that all you can come up with puny human” error violation! I’ve gotten a bit better, in coming up with beefier passwords, but it takes me a while.
I need a system and fast! WhatifItsToday has a pretty good system that she describes in this post: http://whatifitistoday.blogspot.com/2011/08/paperless-or-paper-bills.html
If you have a good system, please share! But not too much info, your privacy is important to me.