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How to Combat Identity Theft

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

The latest data from the FTC shows that while there is an increase in all types of identity theft, the most prevalent were the most common categories for fraud complaints were imposter scams, debt collection, and identity theft. The "other" category of identity theft includes email/social media, insurance, medical services, securities accounts, evading the law, and unclassified events.

Identity theft has been on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic according to IDentityUSA. Experts predict fraud increase as More People Working From Home. ALL IS NOT LOST! Here are tips to combat fraud:

Tax Fraud - If your e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate filing under your Social Security number, or if the IRS instructs you to do so, complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit (PDF)

Computer and Mobile Phone use - Use security software and make sure it updates automatically; essential tools include virus/malware protection and a firewall.

  • Use encryption programs to protect sensitive digital data.

  • Treat your personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.

  • Use strong, unique passwords; consider a password manager.

  • Use multi-factor authentication when it's offered.

  • Give personal and financial information only over encrypted websites; look for “https” addresses.

  • Back up your files.

Phishing - Identity thieves use phishing emails to trick users into giving up passwords and other information. Don’t take the bait. There are several tips theFederal Trade Commissionprovides that you can follow to avoid phishing scams, such as not responding to e-mails that ask for personal or financial information. Share this information with family and friends.

Passwords - Create strong passwords that follow these simple guidelines:

  • Use long phrases that you can remember, combined with characters and numbers. Example: SomethingYouCanRemember@30.

  • Use a different password for each account

  • Use two-factor authentication whenever it’s offered.

Emails - Never! Ever Ever Ever! Store sensitive infomation (ID copies, Tax returns, Bank info, passwords or pin numbers) in emails or unsecured clouds. Hackers skim emails when you are not looking via the DARK WEB. Keep tha info off the net.

Credit, Debit and ATM Card Security

  • When you receive a new card, sign the signature panel immediately.

  • Destroy old cards by cutting them up.

  • Protect your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). Never write your PIN on your card, and don’t keep it in the same place as your card.

  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

  • When making purchases, make sure you get your card back and that the card returned to you is really your card. Don’t make a credit card purchase without taking your receipt. Tear up any receipt carbon copies.

  • Compare your receipts against your account statements. Report any discrepancies, such as unauthorized or duplicate transactions, immediately. Once you’ve reconciled your account statements destroy the receipts if you no longer need them. Store account statements and receipts securely.

  • Don’t forget to take your ATM receipts as well. Record the transaction or save the receipt to reconciliation with your account statement.

  • Don’t leave your cards, wallet or purse unattended. Periodically check to make sure you have all of your cards.

  • Don’t lend your card to others.

  • Be cautious when giving your card number over the phone.

  • Keep a list in a secure place of your card numbers with telephone numbers to call if they are lost or stolen.

  • Avoid using your debit card at the pump or for online shopping. Use a filter debit card.

  • Destroy any pre-approved offers to which you do not respond.

Also Check Out IDShield - covers more than most other plans

IDShield for Business - Protect your data from security breeches.

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