You probably heard of the crime know as identity theft. Identity theft is the malicious use of your personal info to obtain credit in your name, mislead law enforcement or commit forms of tax fraud. Even though its only on paper or a computer – the impact on your financial life is very real.
The good news is, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself.
METHODS TO PROTECT YOURSELF OFFLINE
- Always shred your receipts and any financial paper before you throw them out.
- Request that your social security number never be used as an account number or for customer, employee or college ID’S.
- Never give out your personal info to anyone whose identity you can not verify.
- Be aware of onlookers or listeners when you perform transactions or discuss your personal information.
- Don’t leave your outgoing mail in your mailbox. Drop mail in the post office or its official mailboxes. Also be timely about picking up your mail from your mailbox in a timely manner. Have mail routed to the post office while you are away.
- Never attach your pin number to any of your credit/debit cards
- Only carry cards and ID that are vital. Keep your social security card and seldom used cards in a safe place at home.
METHODS TO PROTECT YOURSELF ONLINE
- Be cautious with any marketing scheme you receive via email.
- Don’t open suspicious looking emails.
- Check out a websites description first before going to it. Look for a padlock or key icon at the bottom of right of your browser to ensure you are on a secure page. Double click the icon to make sure its address matches the one on the page. If they don’t match it’s a scam.
- Install a good AV program such as Vipre antivirus available thru ProtechMyPC.
- Use a limited access account when you go online, instead of an account with administrator privileges. For more information view this article.
- Request an annual credit report twice each year go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
- Avoid having too many accounts.
- Ask your card companies and bill collectors do they have any guarantees to protect you in the invent they suffer a data breach.
- Finally you could purchase ID theft insurance or check your home owners policy – it may provide a measure of coverage.
If you have any questions or additional concerns about identity theft please contact ProtechMyPC – 434-515-2050.