Thursday, October 22, 2015

Know how to Protect your Identity

Did you know that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. today?  Given that around 14 million people had their identities stolen last year, you may be wondering, "How do I protect my identity?"   Here are a few helpful tips on to how to protect your identity:

Be careful in using technology.  

Almost everyone uses a personal computer these days, sometimes more than one.  Do not provide sensitive personal information in unsolicited emails, even if they appear to come from a company you know and trust.  Do not subscribe to web pages that require you to input your credit card number or social security number to gain access, and avoid clicking on third party links (links within links).  If you must submit sensitive personal information electronically, never do it over a public WIFI connection.

Take care of your credit cards.

Always know with which companies you have accounts open, and keep the actual cards and their accompanying information in a safe place.  There is no reason to carry every credit card you have every day.  This just creates a mess of plastic in your wallet or purse and makes it more likely that you will not miss a card if it falls on the floor or you inadvertently leave is somewhere.  Carry only the card you plan to use for the day.

Be aware of common scams.
One of the newer scams that has been developed as technology has become more sophisticated is called "skimming".  A skimmer is a device that is placed on a credit card reader that electronically steals your data.  Skimmers are sometimes even placed in ATM machines.  Though it may be impossible to avoid all skimming devices, you can reduce the chances of having your information stolen in this way by not using automated, unmanned card readers.  Go inside the gas station to pay instead of using the card reader at the pump.  If possible, have a live teller complete your banking transaction instead of using an ATM machine.

Now you know a little bit more about how to protect your identity.  Identity Guard® is an excellent company to contact the next time you are asking, "How do I protect my identity?"

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