Top Ten Tips to Protect Against Identity Theft

  1. Shred your financial documents and any documents that contain your Social Security number.
  2. Get in the habit of checking your credit report. Under law, you are entitled to a free annual credit report. Inspect the report for wrong information and inform your creditors immediately.
  3. Get off marketing lists and get on the “Do Not Call List.” You can avoid having a lot of your personal information data mined by marketing companies if you indicate that you do not wish to be contacted by telemarketers.
  4. To protect against identity theft guard your Social Security number with zeal. This number is like the password into your identity. Most people are far too loose with their SS #.
  5. Put a lock on your mailbox. ID thieves like to rob mailboxes looking for pre-approved credit card offers.
  6. Learn how to spot phishing scams. Pay close attention to emails from financial institutions asking for personal information. No credible company will ask for personal info by email.
  7. Identity Theft protection means you must protect your computer. You need anti-virus, firewalls and malware software. You cannot afford to have an unprotected computer.
  8. Monitor the Internet usage of your children. Educate them about the risks of ID theft. Your children may be unwittingly revealing your personal information.
  9. Do not accept credit cards that you do not need. For example, some people will accept a credit card form Expedia, Target, or other companies in order to receive a discount. Unfortunately, most people forget about these accounts which ID thieves target.
  10. Be careful of wireless Internet use. Hackers can hack into wireless Internet networks and view what you are surfing. This includes spying on your password. Ensure that your network is password protected.
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