How to Reduce Your Exposure to Identity Theft
You may not know that you are a victim until you are denied a loan, credit card or anything else the requires a credit report. Suddenly you discover someone has opened accounts in your name and of c...
You may not know that you are a victim until you are denied a loan, credit card or anything else the requires a credit report. Suddenly you discover someone has opened accounts in your name and of course not paid them. What could you have done?
BUY A SHREDDER
You can find a small easy to store shredder for less that $20 at almost any office supply store. There is no reason not to have one of these. Any document that includes personal information or your Social Security number should be shredded before you throw it away. Believe it or not there are folks out there that are regular dumpster divers. Shredding your documents makes it impossible for theives to steal your account numbers.
KEEP YOUR FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS HIDDEN AND SECURE
You would think that most people are perfectly trustworthy but some are not. Is it possible that an appliance repair man, handy man or even a guest in your home could access your personal financial documents? Not if they are under lock and key!
PROTECT OUTGOING MAIL
Think of everything that goes in your mail. Checks give potential thieves your name, bank account number and routing number. Credit card account numbers are listed on the very coupons they mail each month to send your payments in. You do not want this stuff to get in the wrong hands. If you haven't graduated to the great convenience of on line bill paying you should consider dropping off your bills at the nearest post office rather than leaving it out in your mail box where anyone can get it. Make sure your online bill pay offers encryption and other security measures to keep your transactions safe from criminals.
BE CAUTIOUS OF SOLICITORS
Don't give out your credit card number, Social Security number, or any sensitive financial information by email and don't do it by phone unless you initiated the contact. Make sure you trust the business before divulging any information.
OPT OUT OF CREDIT CARD AND JUNK MAIL SOLICITATIONS
The three major credit bureaus have a toll free number (888-5OPT-OUT) that allows you to take your name off marketing lists that are sold to credit card companies. Registering will not eliminate all credit card solicitations, but will cut down the volume quite a bit. The less offers you get in the mail means less chances thieves will have to steal them.
There was a reported 10 million cases of identity theft last year alone. Don't let it happen to you. Reduce your exposure by following these simple tips.
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