Are You A Victim of Stolen Identity?
Checking For And Preventing Identity Theft
Do you suspect you’ve become a victim of stolen identity? Have you already been the target of ID theft and not even be aware of it? How on earth do you find out?
Preventing identity theft is possible. You work hard to make money and build a positive financial reputation, and you deserve to be able to protect that. If you suspect your identity has been stolen, or want to take steps to ensure that it won’t happen in the future, here are some simple things you can do.
1. Make a point of checking your monthly bank and credit card statements. Ensure you get all of the statements on time. If one doesn’t arrive, call the bank, just in case a thief has already stolen your identity and is getting statements sent to a false address.
2. Check your wallet. Is anything missing? Are your driver’s license, your credit cards and other ID cards still there? If any are missing, report them immediately and put a stop on your missing credit cards.
3. Get an updated credit report. If you are a victim of identity theft, your credit report will contain information that will alert you to identity fraud, such as inquiries that you did not make, as well as new credit accounts you did not authorize or request.
4. Get a copy of your driver's license record. You’ll be able to see if there are any offences against your name you did not commit.
If your identity has been stolen you need to contact the police and report the crime.
What other steps can you take to minimize the risk of stolen identity?
If you are already a victim of ID theft, you need to follow these steps so it doesn’t happen again. If you are want to make sure it never happens, keep these points in mind and be vigilant at all times:
1. Keep checking your bank statements as above.
2. Never give out personal information over the phone, the internet or through the mail unless you instigated the contact.
3. Destroy documents with personal information by tearing or shredding them. You could even burn them! Make sure this includes anything with your credit card or personal details on them, such as receipts, forms and statements.
4. Your mailbox is an easy source for identity theft. Don’t put mail in there to be collected. Always put it into post office boxes. If you are going on vacation put a hold on your mail at the post office.
Invest in a personal post office box if you suspect your identity has been stolen through your mailbox. Otherwise you can always put a lock on your mailbox. Check out the locking mailboxes shown here to help prevent stolen identity.
5. Don’t carry your Social Security card with you and keep ID cards to a minimum in your wallet or purse.
6. Cancel any credit cards you don’t use. Make sure the bank labels your cancellation as "Cancelled at the cardholder's request".
7. Consider removing your name from the phone book. Too much information is available through the phone book. It gives the thief your name, address and phone number, which might be all they need to steal your identity to commit a crime.
8. Install an updated virus checker on your computer.
9. Always take credit card receipts with you, and then destroy them at home if you don’t need them.
10. Don’t use debit cards when shopping online. A credit card gives you better protection against online identity theft.
11. Properly dispose of old credit and ATM cards by scraping off the magnetic stripe and cutting up the card into multiple pieces.
12. Be safe when using an ATM machine. To prevent stolen identity, place your hand or body over the keypad to try and stop prying eyes from seeing your pin number.
Preventing Identity Theft
Be careful, be vigilant and be thorough at all times in order to protect your identity. If you suspect someone is using your identity, report it immediately. You can’t be too careful.
More About Identity Theft ...
According to the Privacy Rights Center, up to 10 million Americans are victims of ID theft each year. They have a right to be notified when their most sensitive health data is stolen.
~ Luis Gutierrez
Mailbox - Oasis Jr.
Mail Safe Mailbox - Light Gray
The Mail Safe Mailbox was designed and built by former letter carriers. Letter carriers know best the safety issues that face mailbox owners today. Unfortunately, mail theft is on the rise.
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