Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in America; 9.9 MILLION victims were reported last year, according to a Federal Trade Commission survey.
Prevent Identity Theft by following some of the FBI recommended steps below.
- Put your social security number or birth date on you checks
- Routinely carry your social security card, birth certificate, or passport with you
- Give out personal information to anyone from an unsolicited telephone call
- Wire any money to any unknown persons/business
- Agree to cash a check and send money back
- Reply to any email requesting personal information
- Send any personal information via email. If need be telephone the legitimate business that you are dealing with and give the information by phone
- Exercise your "Opt Out" option when getting your driver's license; have your social security removed from your driver's license. *Upon request the State is required to replace your driver's license using your social security number; free of charge.
- Cross-cut shred your confidential trash; anything with an account number, social security number, date of birth, etc.
- Know when your financial statements arrive and check on missing items.
- Drop off all of your mail at the USPS "Blue Box" or the post office directly.
- Have the Post Office hold your mail when you are out of town.
- Discard your analog cordless phones and purchase digital or digital spread spectrum (DSS) phones with 900MHz, w.4GHz, or 5.8GHz technology.
- Protect your computer with a firewall and a virus protection. Update automatically and often.
- Use the encryption/password setting, if using wireless internet.
- Use a black gel ink pen to write checks. (this can't be lifted off and your check re-used).
- Create/institute your own personal "need to know" policy. Challenge anyone requesting your personal information and ask them about their security policies.
- Photocopy front and back of all cards your carry in your wallet; store in a safe place in case your wallet is stolen. You can notify banks within minutes.
- Order your credit reports at least three times per year (free). (One from each Credit Bureau)
- Make sure no one is listening when giving out personal or financial information from a public or cell phone. It is best to give such information in a secure location.