Identity theft can cause a lot of damage— so it’s best to make it as hard as possible for someone to steal your identity.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Only give your Social Security number when absolutely necessary. Don’t write it on checks or carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you know who you’re dealing with. Don’t disclose personal financial information over public Wi-Fi, no matter how legitimate “free_pittsburgh_wifi_seriously” may seem.
- Never click on links in unsolicited emails. Protect your computer with up-to-date firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software. If you use a file sharing service or website, check the settings to make sure you’re not sharing sensitive files. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don’t use obvious passwords like your birthday or your mother’s maiden name. Go for something less obvious. The more frustrating it is to remember, the better.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home. This is especially important if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
- Add identity theft coverage to your homeowner’s insurance policy. Carriers provide a “limit” for expenses incurred by you as a direct result of any identity theft claim. The additional premium to your current policy is minimal, and can save you thousands of dollars on expenses incurred repairing damage caused by the theft.
Look out for signs of identity theft
Monitoring your financial statements and keeping track of your accounts and purchases will make you more alert to abnormal activity, such as:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
- Charges on your financial statements that you don’t recognize
Have questions about identity theft and what you can do to prevent it? Contact us today!