Identity Theft - Avoid Becoming a Victim
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.