20 Quick Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

by admin on February 18, 2010

in Documents

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Every day we see or hear of households and businesses who have become victims of identity theft.  It is a serious and growing problem that has become more acute with new technologies.  It is something that we all have to be aware of in our daily lives as the perpetrators are very adept and creative in their pursuit of gaining our identities for their benefit. 

While at work, at home, and on the Internet, your daily activities offer multiple opportunities for criminals to obtain your personal information.  By making yourself aware of the issues and information is the first step in safeguarding against identity theft. Here are some ways to help reduce the chance of being a victim of identity theft:

1.         Order and closely review copies of your credit report from each national credit reporting agency once a year.

2.         Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and IDs. Close all unused credit card or bank accounts.

3.         Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills, and other financial information you don’t want before discarding them in the trash or recycling bin.

4.         Remove your name from mailing lists for pre-approved credit lines by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).

5.         Remove your name, phone number and home address from marketing lists by contacting the Direct Marketing Association. This will not prevent your name from being placed on all marketing lists, but it removes your information from many of them.  Call 212-768-7277, ext. 1888.

6.         Only release your personal data (social security number, date of birth, bank account or credit account numbers, etc.), to agencies that require it for action you have initiated. Never give this information to unsolicited telephone callers or over the Internet.

7.         Contact the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and request assignment of an alternate driver’s license number if it currently features your Social Security number.  Furthermore, submit a request to limit access to the personal information on your driver’s license under the Driver Privacy Protection Act – http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/DPPAInfo.html.

8.         Ensure that your PIN numbers cannot be observed by anyone while you’re utilizing an ATM or credit/debit device in a store.

9.         Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles or unattended gasoline pumps.

10.       Memorize your social security number and all passwords.  Do not record them on any cards or on anything in your wallet or purse.

11.       Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery.

12.       Deposit outgoing mail in post collection boxes or at your local post office.

13.       Contact your creditor or service provider if expected bills don’t arrive.

14.       Never put your credit card or any other financial account number on a postcard or on the outside of an envelope.

15        Beware of promotional solicitations through the mail or over the telephone that offer instant prizes or awards and seek to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers.

16.       Use caution when disclosing checking account numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal financial data at any website or on-line service location unless you receive a secured authentication key from your provider.

17.       Be very careful when giving information on unknown websites, especially ones found in Spam e-mails.

18.       Do not give out your checking account information on the Internet, unless you are dealing directly with your bank’s website.

19.       Make sure every transaction you engage in on the Internet is over a secure connection, you should see a lock in your browser window, as well as “https” in the browser window.

20.       Consider purchasing Identity Theft Protection/Insurance.  There are several good companies who offer this service and are invaluable if this were to happen to you.

In reading these tips, I hope that you become aware of some simple things that you can do during the course of your daily activities that will stop or lessen your risk from becoming a victim of identity theft.

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March 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

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