Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to Avoid Being A Victim of Identity Theft - BE WISE

How To Help NOT Being a Victim of Identity Theft

Imagine this: You are sitting at your desk or the kitchen table balancing your check book and preparing to pay your monthly bills. You open your credit card statement and you realized there's an $1100.00 charge you are sure you didn't make...

Unbelievably upset with that sick feeling in your gut you realize you've becom a victim of identity theft.

Immediately you wonder what you did or what you didn't shred to cause this.

Here are a few things you can do that could help prevent the headaches involved with identity theft:

Only give out your social security number when it's absolutely necessary. Some states give you the option of using your social or NOT as your driver's license number. NOT is the correct answer. And never carry your social security card with you. And for Pete's sake do NOT put your social security number on your personalized checks!

Cancel credit cards that you are not using or do not need. When canceling, be sure to request that a notation be made that the "card was cancelled at the cardholders request."

Don't leave outgoing mail in your own mailbox. I'm not talking about the birthday card to Uncle Bubba. I'm talkin about anything that includes your personal or banking information.

It's far too easy for identity thieves to target mailboxes even in nice neighborhoods, or perhaps I should say ESPECIALLY in nice neighborhoods. Instead, drop those off at the box at the post office.

SHRED, SHRED, and SHRED some more!!!
Shred credit card receipts, debit card receipts, insurance bills.... anything that you don't need to keep that even remotely tells and inkling of your personal information. This is a big prevention tool. Thieves will ransack trash just to make a buck.

Use complicated passwords on your computer, email and Internet accounts. The bst combination would be a the use of upper and lower case letters in addition to number. Don't use your house number, your birth-date, your phone number or maiden names that will help in making you a target!

NEVER (did I make that clear?) NEVER give out personal information over the phone, email or on the Internet. I bought my 81 year old father his latest computer, my rulse was simple. If you don't know who the email is from, do not even open it.... and if you do don't EVER give out personal information over the Internet. Most companies you do business with have a policy against asking your personal information over the Internet.

Call your bank or credit card company if you feel a statement or bill should have arrived and it hasn't. A missing bill or statement could indicate that you are being targeted.

Upon receiving your charge card bills or bank statements each month, take a careful look to make sure no unauthorized activities have occurred.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) an many as 9 million individuals have their identity stolen each year. It seems the thieves also like to target older individuals due to vulnerability issues.

My mother is a sharp old gal, but received a phone call from someone claiming to be with the FTC stating that someone was trying to get into her account. She freaked and spilled her guts to anything they asked her. She immediately realized after hanging up that her moment of panic could have cleared out her checking. She immediately went to the bank and closed the account.

No one immune to these predators.

Thanks for stopping by!

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