Keeping Your Private Information Safe — Part 2
Last week, Staying Put at Home detailed steps to take to protect your information on the Internet. Safeguarding your online security is essential to avoiding identity theft, but overlooking the offline tactics that scammers also use can still leave you vulnerable. It takes only one credit card offer for a crook to assume your identity and defraud you of hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Opt Out of Financial Offers
Are you looking for a new line of credit? If not, credit card offers likely do little more than fill up your garbage. Unless a con artist gets to them first. Especially when you have an unsecured mailbox, a scammer can easily grab your mail without you ever knowing it. To stop receiving potentially risky offers, the Federal Trade Commission recommends going to www.optoutprescreen.com and adding yourself to its list.
Shred Confidential Documents
Whether it’s an unwanted credit card offer, old paystub or ATM receipt, never let any item with your name, social security number, banking account number, address or even phone number go directly into the trash. Once your bins are at the curb or bags are in the dumpster, con artists can fish through your garbage to find this information. Invest in a shredder and destroy sensitive documents you no longer wish to keep.
Sign Up for Online Billing
Do you still get your bank statements and bills through the mail? If so, you might be making it easier for an identity thief to swipe them for fraudulent purposes. Last week’s post discussed the importance of setting up secure passwords to protect your Internet information. As long as you take this essential step, though, you can reduce your identity theft risk by switching over to online billing and banking.
Lock Up Your Social Security Card
Your social security number plays a pivotal role in your financial security and identity. That makes it especially attractive to con artists. For this reason, never keep your social security card with your credit cards or ATM card. A single moment of distraction can lead to a scammer taking an unattended wallet or purse and leaving you to deal with months or even years of identity theft fallout.
Keeping Your Private Information Safe
- Keeping Your Private Information Safe — Part 1
- Keeping Your Private Information Safe — Part 2