Have you seen the movie, Identity Thief? Funny movie, but a not so funny situation for many people.
January 28 was Data Privacy Day but everyday should be a reminder to beware of hackers and keep your online information safe. But online is not the only way you can become the victim of Identity Theft.
AAA Motorist published a checksheet of 5 steps you can take to safeguard your personal details:
Secure Your Paper Documents: Keep your passport, Social Security card, mortgage statements, and tax forms locked security away. Old documents and receipts should be cross-cut in a shredder before throwing them in the garbage.
Watch Your Mail: Make sure you get your snail mail as quickly as possible. If you are going to be away, have the post office to hold your mail until you return. Take your bills and payments directly to the post office when mailing. Leaving them in your mailbox for pickup is an opportunity for someone other than the mailman to pick them up. They will provide enough data for an identity thief to use.
Don’t Carry More Than You Need: Walking around with multiple credit cards, a check book, and your Social Security card puts you in the greatest risk of identity theft if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen. Carry just the bare essentials with you when you leave home. Also know what your credit card’s policy is on unauthorized purchases.
Update Your Computer Security: Phishing scams, Trojans, and key-stroke programs are common ways for criminals to trick you into revealing your personal information. Make sure your security and anti-virus software is up-to-date. Do not respond to emails from senders you don’t recognize. No legitimate source like a bank or utility will ever ask you for personal account details via email. Do not respond to any emails asking you to click on a link and inputting your username and password. Contact the legitimate business immediately to alert them of the situation.
Don’t Reveal Too Much Online: Social Media is becoming more popular way of criminals to obtain personal information about you. Avoid posting details such as your mother’s maiden name, your address, birthplace, and workplace. It may be fun to Tweet that you’re on vacation or at a concert, but this information can alert criminals that you’re not at home.
Criminals use victim’s data to empty their bank accounts, make purchases, take out loans and even secure medical treatment. Due to the wide-ranging nature of the crime, it’s important that you take an active part in safeguarding all your personal details. Remember, business need protection too.
Most insurance companies will offer Identity Fraud Expense Coverage that helps pay expenses associated with repairing the damage by an Identity Thief. If you have questions or concerns and want to learn more about arming yourself against a potential thief, please call an expert at Barr’s Insurance or contact us on the web, www.barrsinsurance.com today, before it’s too late!
Social Media Specialist