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5 Ways To Stay Ahead Of Identity Theft

Criminals who specialize in identity theft will do anything to get their hands on your personal information. Identity theft is when someone takes your information, usually for financial gain, without permission. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports over 13.1 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year. INSURICA has a few ways you can stay ahead of identity thieves and reduce the risk of your information being compromised.

Personal Information:

Identity thieves love an easy target. Be sure to give out personal information on a “need-to-know” basis only. Omit your Social Security number and driver’s license number on your bank checks. If you must use your Social Security number as an account number, request an alternate identifier.

Protect documents:

Store all documents that include your personal information in a secure place such as a home safe. Check your mail daily to limit the chances of thieves being able to steal your information right out of the mailbox. Shred all documents that contain sensitive information when no longer need.

Digital History:

Update your virus protection software and use a firewall program on all personal electronic devices. Before you dispose of your old devices, wipe any files or data containing personal information from them.

Passwords:

Create strong and unique passwords and pins so thieves can’t access your accounts. Don’t use the same password for your banks, credit cards, or electronic devices. Never reuse an old password for your accounts. Use two-factor authentication where available.

Credit Freezes/Fraud Alerts:

There are free resources available to monitor your credit accounts. Credit freezes and fraud alerts are good tools to combat identity theft. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, which means you — or others — won’t be able to open a new credit account while the freeze is in place. Anyone can freeze their credit report, even if their identity has not been stolen.

A fraud alert will make it harder for someone to open a new credit account in your name. A business must verify your identity before it issues new credit in your name.

When you place a fraud alert on your credit report, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus.

  • Equifax—888-766-0008
  • Experian—888-397-3742
  • TransUnion—800-680-7289
  • Social Security Administration—800-772-1213

Conclusion:

Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the United States. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help minimize the risk of identity theft. If your personal information has been stolen, file an Identity Theft Report and recovery plan with the FTC and your local police.

You can also contact INSURICA to learn more about the personal risk services available to you.

Sources: Zywave, FTC

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