Ask Alanis

HOW DO I AVOID ID THEFT?

Never give out banking information,
your credit card etc., unless you are actually paying for something.

Be stingy with your social security number.
While credible companies may ask for it, often times you can request an alternate number to be used – a pin of your choice.

Be aware of possible crooks.
One way thieves obtain your information is by posing as another company requesting you verify your bank account and/or personal information. If they do not already have it, this can be a red flag. When you receive a questionable call, to verify the validity of the call, hang up and contact them directly.

Get your mail daily.
Your account numbers and other personal information can easily be found within the contents of your mail. Planning to be out-of-town? Ask the post office to hold your mail while you are away.

Remove yourself from credit marketing lists.
Identity thieves take full advantage of these preapproved mailing lists. Call 888-567-8688 to remove yourself from these lists. They may ask for your social to verify your identity.

Keep your passwords and PINS safe, in fact, memorize them.
Don't open a door for crooks to get a hold of your money.

Online safety.
Unfortunately, you can't be sure the company you do business with stores your information safely but you can verify the security of transmitting that information. The beginning of each web address often contains the characters "http." Some, however, begin with "https" or "shttp" – the "s" standing for "secure." Before entering your personal information first check the web address to be sure it has the "s" for secure!

Be aware, avoid lingering or multiple attacks.
Check your accounts regularly. If you see suspicious activity in your statements or when viewing your account online, your bank may cover it if notified soon enough.

Pull your credit report.
You can get your credit report for free by calling 877-322-8228 or visiting annualcreditreport.com – this will not hurt your credit. TIP: you can monitor your credit for free for a year if you pull from one bureau every four months rather than all three at once. Credit report discrepancies can be disputed.

Don't use sketchy ATMs.
Thieves are more likely to rig these conveniently accessible yet questionable ATMs to capture your card number and PIN.

ID theft victims can contact
the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338, or visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft for thorough advice.

Avoid becoming a victim, be proactive.


Alanis

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