Posts Tagged ‘identity theft’

5 Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Dumpster DiveHelping you secure your valuables in quality safes is our primary business, at the same time we want to do what we can to help you stay safe in other areas as well.  Home safes, jewelry safes, and gun safes are an important part of your big picture security plan.  It is also important to protect your good name, your personal identity and your personal valuables.  Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion.  That means, 7% of all adults have their identities misused resulting in approximately $3,500 in damages per person.
How do identity thieves steal your personal information?  It could be as simple as dumpster diving; looking for old bills and documents that you haven’t properly disposed of, or as complex as people working in trusted positions such as medical offices or government agencies taking your personal information and using it in inappropriate ways.
While you can’t put all the elements of your personal identity in a security safe, there are ways to protect yourself and your information.

  • Read your credit reports, every 12 months you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit companies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion).  Visit Annual Credit Report to learn more about this.
  • Shred all documents that show personal information on them before you throw them away.  Check out Shred Wise to learn more about shredding options.
  • Install and USE a home security system to keep the bad guys OUT!
  • Don’t respond to anyone or anything asking for your personal information, and make sure if you are putting personal information on the web that the website is encrypted. Look for “https” at the beginning of the web address, the “s” stands for secure.
  • Don’t send information over a public wireless network to any website that isn’t full encrypted and secure.

If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately call one of the three credit reporting companies and post a fraud alert.  The first company will then contact the other two companies to ensure the your account is flagged at each of the agencies. Once the alert is posted it will remain there for 90 days.  You may also file a complaint, aka an FTC affidavit, with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).  Take this affidavit to your local police department and file a police report.  These documents combined comprise an identity theft report: for more information visit the FTC’s Identity Theft web page.