Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Avoid Identity Theft

here are just a few tips to avoid identity theft...

  • Watch your back in line at the grocery or discount store.  The thief may appear to be looking at his phone but he's actually taking a picture or video of you using your card and entering your pin number.
  • Don't put outgoing mail in your mailbox.  The red flag standing up on the side of a mailbox tells the thief that there may be checks or bills and other important mail there.  This happened to my friend just down the street from me.
  • Check your bank and credit card balances at least once a week.  A thief can do a lot of damage before you notice it a month later.
  • If a bill doesn't show up when it is supposed to it might be a sign that your mail has been stolen.  You might want to go paperless or get a PO box for certain things, or all, of your mail.
  • Thieves have been known to drive through neighborhoods at 3-4 in the morning taking your garbage then sorting it later at their home to find a treasure of your personal information.  Always shred important info with a top quality shredder.
  • Never throw away pre-approved credit applications, old bills, expired credit cards, deposit slips, or any kind of application with personal information on it. Shred, shred, shred.  For a credit card, I cut it into 5-7 pieces and place each piece in a different trash can.  Not all of my trash cans get emptied at the same time.
  • If you see something that looks like it doesn't belong on the ATM or gas pump, or seems to stick out from the card slot, walk away.  It might be a skimmer.
  • Call 888-5-OPTOUT to stop banks from sending you pre-approved credit offers.  This is way too easy for a thief who can write out one of those checks and it will be awhile before you ever know it.

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