The bottom line of Identity theft is…. it sucks. It’s either happened to you, or to someone you know.
“Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name.“- ftc.gov/idtheft
How can we avoid Identity theft? There are certain things we can do to help prevent it. The first “D” is “DETER.” If we safeguard our personal information we can deter thieves.
1. Shred ALL financial documents with your personal information before you throw them away. If you don’t have a shredder at home, you can take a few documents at a time to your financial institution OR you can call them and ask when there having their free shred day and then take a big box in to have shredded.
2. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless YOU know who you are dealing with. Your financial institution won’t call you asking you for your information, they already have it on file when you opened your account. If YOU didn’t make the contact, DON’T give them your personal info.
3. Protect your social security number. DON’T carry your social in your wallet or write it on a check (don’t put it on a check).
4. Never click on links sent to you in unsolicited emails. Instead, type in a web address you know or google the website first. Make sure all of your computer security is up to date.
5. Don’t use obvious passwords. “Love” is the most common password used. Don’t use your birthday, mother’s maiden name, current pet or last four of your social.
6. Keep your personal information in a safe place at home. ESPECIALLY if you have roommates, have outside help, or are having work done to your house. Don’t keep your purse or wallet by your front door.
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