13 Tips to Prevent identity Theft
Why should Identity theft services be a vital part of any financial plan? How much information does someone really need to know in order to impersonate you to a 3rd-party? Your name? Birth date? Address? Social Security number? Armed with easily found information such as this, and maybe a couple other key pieces of information an individual might be able to access your existing accounts, potentially open new accounts, establish new loans or credit in your name.
Below are few tips you can follow to help secure and protect your personally identifiable information:
1. Don’t publicly post anything you may use as a password such as your birth date, pet’s name, mother’s maiden name, or your alma mater. Identity thieves can use the information you post to guess your password.
2. You should never use your Social Security Number as any part of a username or password that you establish and you should never divulge it to telephone solicitors or in response to spam or phishing scam emails either.
3. Review your credit card statements. Make sure all the purchases are transactions you actually authorized.
4. Carefully watch your credit card when handing it to the clerk. Make sure you are given back your card and not a different card.
5. When entering a PIN number or a credit card number in an ATM machine, at the store, or even on a computer at work, be aware of who is nearby and make sure nobody is peering over your shoulder to make a note of the keys you’re pressing.
6. Pay attention to your monthly bills and follow up with creditors if one does not arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has changed your billing address to cover his or her tracks.
7. Put a fraud alert on your accounts. This will notify creditors to verify your identification before issuing credit in your name. A security freeze prevents potential creditors from accessing your credit report without your consent. The credit reporting company may charge a fee to place or remove a security freeze.
8. If you are moving, notify credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or telephone number. Contact the sender if your statements are not received in the mail at the usual time. Notify credit card companies and financial institutions in advance about your vacation destination for your next trip if it’s out of state and especially if it’s out of country.
9. Watch your mail. When a breach occurs and you were exposed, the company is required to send you a notification letter with an explanation and information on what to do. It may also offer a free credit monitoring service to help check your account and pay for the initial cost of a security freeze. These letters are easy to miss because they look like junk mail and may come from an unfamiliar third party service.
10. Several times a year, order your credit report from one or more of the national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion.) You may obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year at www.freeannualcreditreport.com
11. If you use a wireless router, enable the encryption to scramble the data you send online.
12. Shred information containing sensitive information such as receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, convenience checks, and credit offers. Clean the receipts out of your wallet and car several times a week.
13. Mail anything with personal information or payment at the post office, not from your mailbox.
If you suspect identity theft, there are a number of steps you should take:
* Notify the company about the data breach, as well as law enforcement authorities, all three credit reporting agencies, and the FTC.
* Keep up with all paperwork that involves your fraud case. You will probably be asked to provide corroborating evidence of the unauthorized transaction or identity theft. This includes a signed affidavit, law enforcement or governmental agency reports, receipts of expenses, and insurance declaration forms.
Disclosure: The posted information is for informational purposes only. This message does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. All opinions and estimates constitute Karp Capital's judgment as of the date of the report and are subject to change without notice. Accordingly, no representation or warranty, expressed or otherwise, is made to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information contained herein. Securities offered through Infinity Financial Services (a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC). Infinity Financial Services and Karp Capital Management are not affiliated companies.