Identity Theft

Comments Off by in CMW News
August 9, 2019
Identity Theft

“The Office” TV show is owned by NBC.

Identity theft is rampant and spreading like wildfire.  That’s a fact, so let’s look at some “every-day” rules to follow that could possibly help avoid identity theft.  You have heard some of these a thousand times, but read on . . . some may be new to you.

  • Secure your mail. It is probably a good idea to have a Post Office box.  You could even secure packages by having delivery to a work address.
  • Do not carry your Social Security Card. Memorize SS number instead and only share in the most secure situations when absolutely necessary.
  • Only carry credit cards you use daily. Minimize your risk by carrying only one, if possible.  And, be sure to cut up old cards before throwing them out.
  • Shred, shred, shred all statements and solicitations. Identity thieves still use “dumpster-diving” as a way to gather personal information.
  • Don’t leave paper trails. Take all ATM receipts, gas receipts, etc. with you after transactions.  Remove names, addresses and bar codes from magazines and shred them.
  • Keep your medical insurance card protected. Medical ID theft is the newest wave of identity theft.
  • Use work phone and/or address on your bank checks. Do not use personal information.
  • Don’t use public WIFI. Especially if you are accessing sensitive data.
  • Avoid clicking on links you are unsure of. Check the actual e-mail address, as well as the name of the sender, to be sure of the source.  If clicking on a link, roll over the link first with your mouse and see the destination URL.
  • Create strong passwords by using Two-Factor Authentication. It’s two-layer protection that requires a password and an additional unique-to-the-user form of ID.  For the ordinary consumer, it’s usually the smartphone.  After entering the password, the user will enter a code that was sent to their smartphone.  Many institutions, like banks, require this sort of proof when changing account details.
  • Change passwords often. Do not have them automatically saved in the system.
  • Shop only with trusted websites. Make sure there’s an “https” before the URL – not “http”.
  • Don’t overshare on social networks. Don’t laugh – identity thieves often use social info to “piece together” identities.  Shared pictures could have something in the background.