Preventing Identity Theft
Identity Theft is on the Rise
Preventing identity theft is a matter of being pro-active and always vigilant! While there are no foolproof preventions, there are common sense approaches which will protect you under most conditions. The do's and don'ts are pretty simple.
Safety Precautions that work
- Keep your social security number secure. Don't carry your social security card in your wallet or write the number on your checks. Only give out your social security number when absolutely necessary.
- Don't respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birth date, social security number or bank account number) by phone, mail or online.
- Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at the ATM's.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financials statements are late, contact the sender. Then, review your receipts and ask for copies of incorrect charges. You should be diligent in watching for unauthorized transactions.
- Always shred receipts, credit offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store your personal information in a safe place at home or work.
- Make sure you have firewalls and virus- detection software on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of their data bases.
- Finally, order your credit report once a year and review to be certain that it doesn't include accounts that you have not opened.