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Friday, February 22, 2008

Avoid Identity Theft~ Part 1

Having had a bout with Identity theft recently, I wanted to help prevent you from going through the same thing.
Trust me, it has been very stressful. The process in which to clear up this mess is very time consuming. It did affect my credit and cost me money. Hopefully, the road to recovery will not be a long one.

This will be a three part series on Avoiding Identity Theft.

First, it is important to know some ways this can happen. Believe it or not, there are people who are actually 'skilled' identity thieves.

1) They rummage through your garbage looking for bills or other paper that contains personal information.
2) They steal your credit and/or debit card numbers when processing a card.
3) they pretendd to be from a financial company and send you spam or pop up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
4) They can divert your billing statements to another location by doing a 'change of address' form
5) They steal wallets, mail, bills, pre-approved credit offers, new check purchases or tax information.
6) They can steal from your employers if they have access to your records or even bribe an employee if they have access.

Some ways to prevent identity thieves from accessing your information:

1) Shred all documents. If you don't have a personal shredder...GET ONE!
2) Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or purse. Do not write your social security number on your checks.
3) Do not give out any personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know who you are actually dealing with.
4) Do not click on links in spam emails. Instead, type the web url that you know. Use firewalls, spyware and virus software to protect your computer.
5) Do not use an obvious password like your birthdate, last 4 numbers of your social security number or your mother's maiden name.
6) Keep your personal information in a safe, secure place at home.

Look for Part 2 ~ Detecting Suspicious Activity

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