We read the headlines and almost every day there is a story about some person having their life turned upside down by this heinous crime. There a few simple steps to protect yourself.
Review every bill and bank statement as it arrives in the mail. If you put it away to look at later, well it will probably never get looked at. Question every transaction that you don’t recognize. Use on-line banking for all your banking accounts and credit card accounts and check them weekly. Again question any item that you might think unusual.
Check your credit reports (all three of them) at least every six months for fraudulent accounts or credit applications.
Do not reply to any unsolicited emails coming from what looks like your bank (phishing). Most financial institutions will not contact you by email for account information verifications. If you have any question at all to whether the email is fraudulent, then call, don’t reply to the email.
Never, Never, Never give out your password no matter who asks.
Don’t carry every credit card you have in your wallet, one or two should be all you need. And don’t keep mail like bills, bank statements in your purse. If your wallet or purse are stolen, you have given the thief your whole financial picture.
Change your on-line passwords regularly (I like to do this once a month) and don’t use any numbers or letters in your passwords that can relate back to you such as birthdays, relative names, etc. The more obscure the better. And write down your log-in and passwords and put them in a safe place (a safe hidden in your home for example), not in your desk draw or in a file on your computer.
If you are away from your home all day, think about getting either a locked mail box or having your mail delivered to a post office box.
Shred all mail and documents that contain your name and address as well as those that have personal financial information before putting in the trash.
Don’t discuss your finances in public. And I am not just talking about your credit card balance or how much you have in the bank. But also include where you bank and how you bank. That goes for emails and conversations over cell and/or mobile phones as well. You never know who is listening in.
You can be proactive in preventing identity theft.
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Donna MacMillan, certified QuickBooks consultant and president/founder of MacMillan Associates provides a unique set of services covering all aspects of successful business growth and financial health for all business types and sizes. Offering comprehensive, confidential, and professional services, MacMillan Associates can analyze, design or redesign your current systems to maximize productivity, cash flow and solidify your bottom line.
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