Identity Theft and Spyware- The New Threat
Use Cross-Cut Shredders
You should shred all old bank and credit statements, as well as
pre-approved credit-card offers, before throwing them into the trash.
Always use a crosscut shredder. Crosscut shredders cost more than
regular shredders but do a better job. Although a cross cut shredder
is more expensive and may need more maintenance, it offers some
advantages that make it a better choice. A cross cut shredder cuts
up waste paper in two directions: vertically and horizontally. This
provides you more security for the shredded documents. The shredded
paper is in tiny pieces instead of strips which make reconstruction
of the documents a lot more difficult.
Example shredder products: Fellowes
Secure Your Snail Mail
One way identity thieves grab information is simply by stealing
it out of mailboxes. You can use a locking mailbox to prevent theft
of mail sent to you. You also might consider dropping off your mail
inside the post office whenever you send out bills to ensure mail
is never intercepted. Thieves will go as far as to steal checks
sent out by consumers and using chemical washes to remove ink. If
you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail,
call the U.S. Postal Service to request a vacation hold on your
Watch your Snail Mail
Be sure to tear up all pre-approved credit card offers and pay
close attention to your credit card billing cycles. If a credit-card
bill is more than a few days late, call the issuer and ask if there
have been any inquiries or changes to your account. One of the most
common tricks ID thieves use is to simply change the snail mail
address of your accounts.
If you don't want to receive unsolicited credit card applications
in the mail, by law you can demand that your name be removed from
the marketing lists that credit bureaus sell to credit grantors
looking for new customers.
Opt-Out of “Pre-Approved” Credit
The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives U.S. consumers the right to
"opt out" or stop credit bureaus from providing your name
and address for marketing lists for credit or insurance offers.
Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688), a special phone
number set up by the nation's top three credit bureaus and another
nationwide company called Innovis. When you call this number, you
can opt out of these lists for two years or opt out permanently.
We recommend the permanent opt-out route. Be advised that if you
want to permanently opt out you will receive a form, usually within
in five (5) business days that you will have to return. They will
also ask for your social security number on the call. The entire
process takes about five minutes and is time well spent.
Protect your Information
Never give your credit-card number or personal information over
the phone unless you have initiated the call and trust the business.
It is critical that you don’t reveal highly personal information,
like social security numbers, on documents like bank checks. Nor
should you let merchants write down your social security number
as a form of identification on a check. The general rule of thumb
about personal information is less is better.
Identity Theft- Page Guide
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