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Negligence Can Cost You Your Identity

on Thursday, 19 May 2011. Posted in Identity Theft

Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans have been victims of identity theft? This is partly because of the garbage they are throwing away.  Negligence when throwing away your personal information such as credit cards, credit card offers, receipts, and statements can cost you your identity.  Criminals often sift through trash to take advantage of innocent people.

Take these simple steps to help avoid this costly headache:

  • Shred all credit card offers, receipts, insurance forms, statements of all types and any other paperwork containing your personal information (date of birth, social security number, account numbers, username and password information, etc).
  • Order your credit report once a year to make sure no one has opened accounts or signed up for new loans using your personal information.
  • Be hesitant about giving personal or financial information over the phone.  Make sure you know caller.
  • Review your credit union statements and other financial statements on a regular basis for discrepancies.
  • Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet and don’t have your Social Security number printed on your checks.
  • Make sure that when you are entering personal information online you are using a secure website.
  • Do not give out your date of birth, social security number or account numbers online or over the telephone to anyone who has asked you through previously unsolicited means.  If you initiated the contact, that’s fine, but reputable institutions will not contact you for this personal information.

Disregarding your paperwork, statements, receipts, etc. greatly increases the risk of credit, debt and identity fraud.  A helpful way to avoid this is to sign up for e-statements with those companies that offer it.
Please start shredding, make it a part of your daily routine.  You can pick up a shredder at any local office supply store.  They come with a variety of performance options and in several different styles.  Don’t let identity theft happen to you!

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