Identity Theft: It Affects ALL of Us!  

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Identity Theft: It Affects ALL of Us!

Some things we cannot avoid, like companies that allow their sensitive information to get breached, or hackers determined to invade our private space.  But there are things we can do to protect ourselves. Here are a few for your consideration:

Leave Cards Home.

  1. Avoid carrying more credit cards than you need during the course of a day.
  2. Keep your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport secure. If you don’t need to walk around with them, DON’T.

Don’t Share.

  1. Don’t give out your social security number, without a VERY good reason. There are only a few organizations that legally have the right to request your social security card.  Among them are the department of motor vehicles, tax authorities, welfare agencies, financial institutions.  Other organizations can accept alternate forms of proof.
  2. Be mindful when sharing your personal information on the phone. I cannot tell you how often I get a call from someone posing as a government representative e.g., as the IRS, or a bank employee, or an American Express agent. It’s scary because you don’t know who to believe.  I say believe no one.  Hang up and contact that organization through your secure portal (if you have an account) or get their number from their valid website and call.

Do Not Call.

  1. Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry to avoid all calls from telemarketers trying to get your information over the phone.

Shred.

  1. When (if) you order checks, pick them up at your bank. Don’t allow them to be sent through the mail. You want to make it hard for thieves to steal, alter, or cash your checks.
  2. Shred financial documents. Believe it or not, your trash is a treasure trove for any potential thief.

Read and Review.

  1. While you cannot patrol the folks who have access to your private information, you can be aware of how they claim to protect your information. The best way to do that is to read the privacy policies of these entities, before you share information with third parties.
  2. Review your credit card and bank statements on a regular basis. The more you pay attention the easier it will be for you to catch any discrepancy. Consider receiving your statements through your online account to avoid sensitive information being transmitted through the mail
  3. Request a free copy of your credit report every year.

Pay Attention.

  1. Be aware of suspicious “phishing” email scams; never send ANY private information through the email.

Strong Passwords.

  1. Create unique passwords or PIN numbers out of a random mix of letters and numbers. This makes it harder for identity thieves to unearth your codes and gain access to your online personal information.

I’m Attorney Francine Ward. Engage with me on my Law Facebook Fan Page, LinkedIn page, Twitter Law page.

 

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