Technology in Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Protecting against ID Theft
Here is a list of things you can do to protect your identity, credit, and financial assets.
Protecting your credit can be assigned to someone else by signing up for protection services such as www.lifelock.com. Preventing theft including other aspects of your identity are proved by companies like www.identityguard.com and www.idwatchdog.com . These services are for those people that want a one-stop location for personal information monitoring.
For do it yourselfers there are a number of things you can do to shore up your credit and financial information security without paying a service.
The first thing to do is to initiate a fraud alert with one of the big three credit reporting agencies. This can be done by completing an online form, but make sure that you are at the actual website of the credit reporting agency since you will be asked to supply private financial information such as your social security number and birth date along with your current address.
You will have to do this every 90 days unless you employ a credit freeze or a long-term fraud alert. More details on these other options are available on the credit reporting company websites.
Protecting yourself from identity theft includes the following list of things to do.
Use a Crosscut Shredder for all items with your personal information that you are discarding. This includes old checks, statements, and even catalog address labels that have your account information on them.
Use your credit card instead of checks whenever possible since checks have become the latest source of theft by identity thieves whereas credit cards have legal protections that limit your liability. Check cards should be considered the same as checks.
Add your name to the official opt-out -list to avoid new credit offers in the mail. www.optoutprescreen.com. This can save you from having a thief intercepting a loan offer check in the mail and getting cash from it.
Check your credit reports regularly. You are eligible for one free report from each agency per year so if you space them apart every four months you can get your reports without cost. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com
Make a photocopy of the contents of your wallet in the event it is stolen or lost. Make sure to write down the contact numbers for each of the cards in the wallet and store this document in a safe place that you can access on short notice.
Never click on links that come in emails for bank, credit, and purchase account communications. The is one of the ways internet identity thieves trick unwary victims into giving up their account ID and passwords. Minutes later your accounts will be pilfered.
Passwords for all types of accounts should be hard to figure out. For less important accounts it may be ok to combine some letters and numbers that you can remember easily, but for banking and investment accounts you should consider a very secure password that constitutes a random string of letters and numbers that you can or have memorized and is at least 11 characters in length. More is better.
Making the effort to protect your identity will put you ahead of the majority of people that don’t consider the subject until they have been victimized.
Reproduced with permission by BrentHerrick.com - copyright
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