Precautions for protecting your identity
Below are 10 ways to protect yourself and your family from identity fraud. Whether it is by snail mail, telephone calls or the Internet, take the time to think it through before you give out any information. Besides what is listed below, here is an excellent website that keeps up with the latest scams, spams and frauds. ScamBusters
1. "Just Say No" When a sales clerk asks for your home phone number, decline to provide it.
When someone asks for your Social Security Number, date of birth, etc., ask them to explain how the information will be used. If you are not satisfied with their response, refuse to give the information. Also be sure to put your phone numbers (cell phone numbers too) on the Do Not Call List for free.
3. Avoid Warranty Cards, Contests, Birthday Clubs and Newsletters - You do not need to provide your date of birth, income, or educational background to receive warranty protection for an item that you purchase. Contests and birthday clubs are often nothing more than methods for gathering personal data that is sold to others. If you choose to opt-in to a newsletter, be sure it is something you will take the time to read. Many of these are just a way to gather marketing information and add a data miner to your computer.
4. Obtain credit reports - It is important to obtain your credit report directly from all three bureaus every year. Oftem times they will have different information. Each one of the three offer a Free report once a year.
Review your credit report with a fine-tooth comb. Make note of anything that is wrong
and call the creditor listed. The credit report will give you the phone number of the
5. "Opt-Out" Many types of organizations provide you with privacy notices every year.
These notices include procedures to remove your name from customer lists that are sold
to others. To opt-out from pre-approved credit card offers, call this toll free number 888-567-8688.
6. Shred - Shred anything that has your name, address, phone, or any other personal information on it. You never know who might be looking in your trash cans! You can find a good shredder at any office supply store.
7. Disconnect your computer from the Internet - Simply turn your computer
completely off every night. Shutting down your computer nightly will prevent unknown activities from happening. This will also save on electricity!
8. Secure Your Home WI-FI-Systems Many consumers are installing wireless routers in
their homes. Most of these routers come with optional encryption tools (hardware,
software or both) in the box. It is very important to either activate these tools or install
alternative encryption systems. By adding a password or passkey to your WI-FI you can prevent others from using your wireless connection.
9. Avoid E-Mail Address Books Some viruses capture the e-mail addresses of your
friends, family, and business associates from your automated address book. E-mails that
contain malicious code are then sent in your name. This can be avoided by not
opening ANY email that looks suspicious. Your email program should have a way to hover over an email sender and enable you to see the exact email address the post came from. If the address looks garbled or has nothing to do with the subject matter or you just don´t recognize the sender - DON´T OPEN IT.
10. Take time to look at pop-up windows - Before you close a pop-up window be sure you are closing it correctly. There should always be an X and the right hand upper corner, or words that say "No Thanks" or "Close" etc. Spammers and Frauds have many ways of making you beleive what they are saying is vital information to you. Examples are, "Your Computer is at Risk" or "You May Have Spyware" etc. Close these windows. If you have questions about how your computer is running, go to an expert in your area!