Identity theft is now being considered as one of the fastest growing crime in the nation. What is it? It is described as a crime when a person steals someone else’s personal information like social security, driver’s license, bank account, credit card information, and other valuable identifying information to commit fraud.
A lot of people have complained about unauthorized withdrawal of funds out of their financial account or even worst, have taken their identity while committing serious crimes.
Here are some ways to minimize risks of identity theft and fraud to protect you:
1. KEEP your social security number in a very secure place. Never give it out, unless necessary.
2. AVOID giving any personal or financial information. If you get a call from someone who is asking for your bank account or credit card information on behalf of your financial institution, do not give it right away unless you are sure that they are from a legit or a trusted company. The best thing to do is ask them for their name and phone number so you can call them back for proper verification.
3. SHRED all documents containing your personal information, when not needed, especially pre-approved credit card offers.
4. CHECK all your credit card, bank and other financial statements carefully for any unauthorized transactions.
5. CALL the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry at 1-888-567-8688 to stop unwanted credit card offers because identity thieves can use it by filling it out and opening a new account in your name.
6. REMOVE your name from the solicitation list by calling DO-NOT-CALL Registry at 1-888-382-1222.
7. GO directly to your bank’s website for online banking. Never use a link from your email because it might be part of scheme that thieves do to get your financial information.
8. SECURE your mail by emptying your mailbox right away and never mail any payment or letters with checks from home as thieves can erase and change the payee name. This will also give them access to your personal and financial information.
9. MONITOR your credit report once a year to make sure there is no suspicious activity. The three national credit bureaus namely: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion offer one free credit report yearly.
10. CANCEL all unused credit cards.
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About the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of SeniorCareHomes.com – A trusted and comprehensive online directory of Senior Care Homes such as Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and other types of Senior Housing in California, Florida, New York, Arizona and the rest of the United States. SeniorCareHomes.com also provides FREE Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best Senior Housing on the planet!
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