Believe it or not, your purse and/or wallet, mailbox, discarded trash, and consumer credit report contains a wealth of information about you. As a matter of fact, way to much information.
Unfortunately, in the hands of a corrupt individual, this information could be used against you to commit various methods of fraud. Fortunately there are a number of things you can do to help reduce your risk of being a victim.
Easy Ways To Prevent Identity Theft
- Don't provide your personal information unless your certain it is necessary.
- Don't provide information over the telephone unless you initiated the call and you know whom you are speaking to.
- Don't feel obligated to fill in every blank on application forms. Find out what information is necessary.
- Look for the "lock and key" symbol when using the internet.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to confirm whether or not an organization is legitimate before you do business with them.
- Remove your name from the mailing lists by using Opt Out.
- Check your credit report once a year from a major credit bureau.
Reducing Access To Personal Information
- Always mail bill payments from the Post Office never from your home mailbox.
- Never write your credit card account number or social security number on your checks when making a payment.
- Purchase and use a quality personal shredder for all financial receipts instead of tearing them up.
- Never leave your purse of wallet unattended in a public place. While at home never leave your purse of wallet in plain view of company or in an unlocked house while you are in the yard.
- While shopping keep your ATM and credit cards separate from your wallet or purse.
- Never write your account number on the outside of a return envelope.
- Never use a post card to order anything through the mail, always use a envelope
- If at all possible never give out personal information over a cellular telephone or cordless telephone.
- Restrict the amount of information you provide on a warranty card. Never provide financial information not pertaining to the product.
- Never carry any personal information in your briefcase while traveling.
- Never fill out any free prize raffles. The information on these cards can be distributed to other companies.
Credit Card Fraud
- Reduce the number of credit cards you use.
- Carry only one or two of them in your wallet at one time.
- Cancel any unused accounts.
- Keep a list or photocopy of all you credit cards, account numbers and phone numbers of the customer service departments in case they become stolen.
- Never give out your credit card information over the phone unless you trust the company and you initiated the call.
- Always take the receipts with you, never toss them in a public trash can.
- Request in writing that the credit card companies remove your name form their marketing lists. When using a pay at the pump gas station always remember to remove your receipt from the pump.
- If you purchase something from an old carbon style charge slip make sure you ask for the carbons. Never let the sales clerk retain the carbons.
- Have the sales clerk hand you your receipt rather than put it in the bag. This keeps your personal information with you if something happens to the bag.
- Never let a sales clerk walk away from you with your credit card. Always keep it in your sight.Never sign a blank transaction slip. Always draw a line through any blank spaces on the slip. This will help prevent any additional charges being placed on the bill.
- Never loan your credit card to anyone.
Passwords and PINs
- Do not use common words or numbers for any password. (Including last names. dates or birth, pets name, consecutive numbers)
- Shield your hands when using an ATM, protect yourself from shoulder surfers.
- Never use the same PIN or password on all you cards.
- Never write your PIN or password on the card or keep it with you on a piece of paper.
- Consider changing you PIN or password semi-annually.
- When opening a new personal checking account or placing an order for checks never place your Social Security Number, middle name, driver's license number, or telephone number on any of the checks.
- When ordering new checks have them delivered to the financial institution instead of your home.
Social Security Numbers
- Release your social security number only when absolutely necessary or when required by law.
- Do not print your social security number on your checks.
- Offer your driver's license number to a merchant instead of your social security number to a merchant when writing a check.
- Always block the view of the keypad while entering your PIN or Password
- If you use an ATM at night select one in a well lit area.
- Never use an ATM where someone is " Hanging Around"
- Always remember to remove and put away your card after the transaction.
- Always remove and take with you the receipt from the machine. Never throw it away in a trash container near the ATM.
- Never write your PIN on the ATM card.
- Never disclose your PIN to anyone.
- Never keep your ATM card with your checkbook.