In The Details

Financial Articles from Hefren-Tillotson

Identity Theft Prevention Tips

Written by
July 14, 2015

Reducing Access Others Have To Your Personal Information:
Remove your name from pre-approved credit card offers at www.optoutprescreen.com
-Consumers have ability to opt-out for five years or permanently and also to opt-back-in
Enroll in the Federal Trade Commissions National Do-Not-Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov
-Phone numbers placed on the registry will remain on it permanently
Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at www.dmachoice.org
-Remove contact information from major solicitation lists based on specific mail categories, such as credit offers, bank offers, magazine offers, retail promotions, etc.
Consider setting up 90-day fraud alerts or freezing your credit at each of the credit reporting agencies

Safe Habits To Acquire:
Obtain and regularly review your Credit Report at www.annualcreditreport.com
-The government provides free credit reports once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
Cross-shred all financial documents and junk mail before putting them in the trash
Carefully review all financial documents and credit card statements for irregularities every month
Do not carry extra credit cards, Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport unless it is necessary
Never give out personal information by telephone, unless you can positively verify the call is legitimate
Do not create easy passwords or store passwords on a document (physical or electronic) that is easily accessible
Try to memorize online account passwords rather than writing them down
Always take your credit card receipts with you and never toss them in public trash containers
Do not allow financial institutions to print your Social Security number on statements or personal checks
Follow up if you receive an unexpected bill, are denied credit, or financial statements are late
Keep a list of your credit accounts and bank accounts in a very secure place in case you need to contact issuers about missing or stolen cards
-Include account numbers, expiration dates and customer service department phone numbers
-Try to update this list twice per year

Internet & Computer Safeguards:
Update virus protection and confirm you have a firewall setup on your personal computer
When shopping online, only do business with companies that provide transaction security protection
When making transactions online, remember credit cards almost always provide more fraud protection than debit cards
Format or physically destroy hard drives of any old computer before putting it in the trash
If you use a wireless internet connection, make sure all available security features are setup
Online banking through a secure website can save time, money, and can be safer than check writing
Do not click on any email links you receive from financial institutions, even if you feel they are legitimate
-Instead, go to your browser and type in the website of the institution and login to your account
-Email Phishing messages can appear identical to emails you are used to regularly receiving