18 Tips to protect your Identity
On September 11th, 2001 two jets crashed into the Trade Towers in New York City, the rest is history. What isn’t so well known is that under those towers laid millions of dollars in Gold Bouillon. Kroll investigators went to work quietly, while the nation slept fitfully, and they recovered that gold.
The following spring the world was looking anxiously at the Olympics in Salt Lake City. There was talk about whether the Olympics should go on? Was it safe? Was another attack eminent? Kroll was called again. Background checks were done, gates were guarded, intelligence was integrated and a safe and wondrous Olympics calmed a frightened nation.
I deal often in Identity theft, for a variety of reasons, and feel it is impossible to protect oneself completely. Your name and important information is available in 1000s of places, most of which you would not expect.
But if I had to make a list of how to BEST protect your identity in a world determined to wreck havoc on your financial life, I would turn to Kroll to give us those answers.. Here is what the experts say:
1. Choose a unique PIN. Avoid using dates of birth for you or your family, street addresses, or any portion of your Social Security number. Memorize the number and don’t write it down. Never share your PIN with anyone.
2. Do not use the same password for every site you visit, and change your passwords often.
3. Ask your financial institution about the availability of account passwords. If possible, password-protect your address and phone number on your existing accounts to prevent unauthorized users from changing that information or adding themselves as an authorized user to your account.
4. Watch your cards during a transaction, and get the card back as quickly as possible.
5. Shield the entry of your PIN number while at an ATM to prevent “lurkers” from obtaining your PIN.
6. Keep credit and debit cards separate from personally documents, like your driver’s license. This will prevent a thief from obtaining additional identification which could be used to authenticate a card.
7. Avoid carrying credit and debit cards you don’t use regularly.
8. Don’t provide account information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the contact and the person represents a company you know.
9. Open billing and banking statements promptly for review. If you notice ta statement missing, contact your bank immediately to determine if the address has been changed. If you bank online, review the transaction history monthly, or more frequently.
10. Save receipts to be compared against your monthly statement to review for unauthorized transactions.
11. If you are using a paper check to pay a credit card bill, do not write the full card number on the check. The last four digits of the credit card number are sufficient for the creditor to connect the check to the account.
12. Cancel old or inactive accounts to prevent unauthorized reactivation by a thief.
13. Changes in address should be followed up with a phone call to verify the correct change was made.
14. Keep records of your credit and debit cards in a secure place; include the card number, expiration date, and a phone number to their customer service lines. The information can be referenced in the event a card is lost or stolen.
15. Be sure to shred statements containing personal information before discarding them
16. Keep all cards, checkbooks, statements, and account information in a secure location. Even if the physical card or document is not stolen, the information can be taken down by a thief and used fraudulently.
17. Report a lost or stolen card as soon as you find the card missing. Report fraudulent charges as soon as you discover them, there is a time limit for reporting.
18. Check the account regularly so that you are sure to find any unauthorized activity within 60 days of the date on the monthly statement where the unauthorized charges first appear.
… remember this covers only your financial identity.. think the same protection when using your Social Security number. And think of this: if it looks suspicious, it should be avoided… and if it smells like Phish, trash and delete.
In a time when a thief can come from around the world and in seconds destroy your peace with no chance of capture or punishment, you can not be too careful.
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