A number of our clients have communicated their concern to us about identity theft and fraud. The following are a few tips that you can use to hopefully avoid being placed in that situation:
● Store personal records in a safe place.
● Shred financial documents.
● Protect passwords.
● Do not open computer files or emails from unknown and questionable sources.
● Remove your full name, birth information and other personal information from professional directories.
● Monitor credit history inquiries and changes by reviewing your credit report once a year (from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion). You can order a free credit report on-line from www.annualcreditreport.com
● Before trashing or donating computers or other electronic equipment (including PDAs and cell phones), destroy hard drives or memory cards with personal information.
● Never leave your checkbook in your car.
● Limit access to your personal and confidential information on public computers.
● Always remember to logout of on-line sessions where you were required to use a password to gain access.
If you believe that you may be a victim of identity theft or fraud or if you suspect that someone has had unauthorized access to your bank accounts or your personal identifying information (such as your social security number or credit card information), contact your bank immediately. You can also report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and to the Federal Trade Commission at the toll free number 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).