As we enter the age of technology, Identity Theft has become more serious than ever. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. While you can't entirely control whether you will become a victim, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT
1.) The next time you order checks, have only your initials (instead of
first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook,
they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or
your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
2.) Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID
3.) When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO
NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put
the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the
number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through
all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
4.) Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone.
If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do
not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your
Social Security Number (SSN)printed on your checks. You can add it
if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
5.) Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both
sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in
your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and
cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
IF YOU ARE ALREADY A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT:
1.) Cancel your credit cards immediately.
2.) File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your
credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you
were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation.
3.) Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to
place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security Number. The alert
means any company that checks your credit knows your information was
stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271