Tips to stay SANE in this identity theft world.
It happens a LOT. More than anyone realizes. It's your worst nightmare in terms of personal info. Your credit history could take years to be fixed after becoming victim to identity theft. Your life can be taken over by a complete stranger and you are facing a faceless foe. Here's some tips on staying safe. TODAY’S TIP(s): ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN Department Identity Tips In many states identity theft is NOT against the law? It has become such a startling problem in recent years that I was surfing the 'net trying to figure out how to protect myself when I came across this fact: as the victim, you actually have to prove that you are innocent-not that someone else is guilty! Thankfully, there are simple measures you can take to help prevent identity theft. Check it out: 1. Buy a "confetti" type shredder and shred all your important papers (especially pre-approved credit applications received in your name and other financial information that provides access to your private information). Don't forget to shred your credit card receipts. 2. Be careful of "Dumpster Diving." Make sure that you do not throw anything away that someone could use to become you. Anything with your identifiers must be shredded (cross-cut) before throwing away. 3. Cast a watchful eye when using your bank card or phone card. While people used to have to remember anything they saw, they don't anymore thanks to the advent of camera cell phones. Someone who looks like he or she is dialing a phone may actually be photographing your credit information. 4. Get all of your checks delivered to your bank - not to your home address. 5. Put passwords on all your accounts and do not use your mother's maiden name. Make up a fictitious word. 6. Ask all financial institutions, doctors' offices, etc., what they do with your private information and make sure that they shred it and protect your information. Tell them why. 7. Empty your wallet of all extra credit cards and social security numbers, etc. Do not carry any identifiers you do not need. Don't carry your birth certificate, social security card, or passport, unless absolutely necessary. 8. When a person calls you at home or at work, and you do not know this person, never give out any of your personal information. If they tell you they are a credit grantor of yours call them back at the number that you know is the true number, and ask for that party to discuss personal information. Provide only information that you believe is absolutely necessary. 9. Do not put your telephone number on your checks. 10. Get credit cards and business cards with your picture on them. 11. Do not put your credit card account number on the Internet (unless it is encrypted on a secured site.) Don't put account numbers on the outside of envelopes, or on your checks. 12. Monitor all your bank statements from every credit card every month. Check to see if there is anything that you do not recognize and call the credit grantor to verify that it is truly yours. 13. Order your credit report at least twice a year and review it carefully. If you see anything that appears fraudulent, immediately put a fraud alert on your reports. 14. Immediately correct all mistakes on your credit reports in writing. Send those letters Return Receipt Requested, and identify the problems item by item with a copy of the credit report back to the credit reporting agency. You should hear from them within 30 days. Remember, this is just a partial list of the steps you can take to prevent identity theft. These tips came from http://www.identitytheft.org check it out to see the complete list of prevention tips and to get a plethora of information about "the fastest growing crime in America."