by BECU Financial Advisor,posted Apr 13 2010 3:46PM
On today's program R&R talked about how his home was broken into and the thief (s) may have stolen¬†a bag containing some personal information (receipts, tax information, etc.).¬†¬†A couple of weeks ago I had my car broken into and my wallet which contained my drivers license, credit cards, and checks were stolen.¬†¬†With the tax deadline right around the corner, most of¬†us are have, our currently are, working with personal information that¬†if stolen, could put us at the risk of our identity being stolen.¬†¬†The following are a few tips that can help you to avoid becoming a victim:
Never give your social security number, mother's maiden name or account numbers to someone you do not know.¬† Your bank already has your social security number so they should only need you to provide the last four digits for verification.¬†
Put additional passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts.
Never carry your social security card or debit card PIN number with you.¬† It is a good idea to only carry the credit cards and ID that you need.
Protect your ingoing and outgoing mail. ¬†If possible, have a locked mailbox and do not leave outgoing mail in an un-locked mailbox.
Shred personal information.¬† This includes but is not limited to charge receipts, copies of credit applications,¬†bank checks and statements, and credit offers you get in the mail.
Get a copy of your credit report and review it at least once a year.¬† You can get a free copy from all three reporting agencies once a year at annualcreditreport.com.¬†¬†One strategy you can take is to stagger your requests throughout the year.¬† For example, perhaps you order the Experian report today and then wait a few months to order a report from Equifax or Trans Union.¬†¬†
In our next post we will talk about what you should do if you are a victim of identity theft.