Safeguard your life
Tips to keep your identity safe
You’ve heard about it, seen it and likely know someone who has suffered through identity theft. But how do you keep your information safe?
Here are 15 tips to keep you protected.
- Shred, shred, shred. To stop a thief from obtaining personal information about you by going through your recycling bin, tear or shred credit card and store receipts, credit applications, insurance forms, bank statements, expired charge cards, and pre-approved credit offers.
- Guard your Social Security Number. Don’t carry your Social Security card with you, and have the number removed from all insurance cards.
- Protect your e-mail and computer. Don’t send sensitive information via e-mail, use a firewall when connecting to the Internet and use security features if operating on a wireless network.
- Stay current with your credit. Review your credit report at least once a year. Take advantage of Web sites such as www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Review credit card statements. Make sure you’re getting charged the accurate amount, and contact creditors immediately if bills arrive late. A missing bill could mean that an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and has changed your billing address.
- Clean out your wallet. Don’t keep more than two credit cards on hand, and make a copy of them to stick in a different place. Also, write “Ask for ID” on the back of all credit cards so that no one else can sign for you.
- Keep checks in check. After ordering checks, pick them up from the bank yourself. Also consider using only your first initial and last name instead of your full name. This will make it more difficult for someone to forge your signature.
- Secure your mail. Get a locking mailbox, and always take outgoing mail to a public drop box. Have the post office hold your mail if you’ll be away.
- Watch for shoulder surfing. Always be aware of your surroundings. Identity thieves can write your numbers down quickly if you leave your card out while completing a purchase.
- Shop online with caution. Be sure that you’re using a secure site before entering bank or credit card information online.
- Protect passwords. Don’t write down passwords or keep them available for anyone to read them. Also don’t allow your Web browser to auto-fill passwords, which makes them easier to steal.
- Beware of phishing. Phishing occurs when would-be identity thieves use a phony e-mail or Web site to fool you into providing a credit card number, password, or other personal information. Don’t respond to these e-mails. Reputable companies won’t ask for your information in this manner.
- Keep your PC clean. Use one of the many powerful free spyware removers available to make sure that no one is spying on you.
- Don’t respond to phony phone calls. Unless you called the company, don’t provide unknown callers with personal information, regardless of who they say they are.
- Safeguard personal information in your home. This is especially important if you have service work done in your home, employ outside help or have a roommate.
To learn more about keeping your identity safe, contact Carter Glass Insurance Agency LLC at (991) 781-1973 or visit www.carterglassinsurance.com.