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Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

September 1, 2013

Consider that moment of panic when you can’t find your wallet or purse.  What runs through your mind? These items contain a lot of valuable information such as your driver’s license number, address, social security number, and credit and bank information.  Stolen wallets and purses are a common way for identity thieves to get a hold of your information. But, dumpster diving is still the most popular method for stealing your personal information.  In fact, based on reports of identity theft victims, dumpster diving accounts for 88% of all incidents. [1]

 

Other ways of accessing your personal information are change of address theft, ATM skimmers, and phishing.  Change of address thieves steal your personal information by changing your address to an address used by them.  They complete a change of address form, either online or at a local post office, and reroute all of your mail to their hands.  ATM skimmers are small electronic devices that can be placed over the card slot of an ATM or other credit card devices.  And, phishing is a way identity thieves steal your personal information by pretending to be an organization that you know and trust.  They may call you or direct you to a fake website that tricks you into giving out your personal information.  

 

Perhaps one of the scariest schemes is using your social security number to create a new identity.  In this case, the person may use your identity to apply for a job, create fake bank accounts or credit cards, or apply for loans in your name.  They can also use your name for health insurance to see a doctor, get prescriptions, or file claims with your insurance provider.

 

There are many easy ways to protect you against identity theft.  Lock your sensitive documents in a safe place and shred papers before you dispose of them.  Also, limit what you carry when you go out.  While remembering all your passwords is difficult, it is important to use strong passwords and keep them private.  Proactive identity theft protection services, such as Lifelock, Identity Guard, or TrustedID can also combat the ever-increasing threat.

 

For more questions about how to protect your identity contact our office for help at 515-284-1011 or laura@westfinancialadvisors.com.

 

[1] http://www.shredexonline.com/dumpster_diving.php

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