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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are some tips on things you can do (or not do) to guard your personal financial
information, prevent identity theft, and protect your good credit rating.

- Always take your receipts with you after you've made a purchase. Leaving the receipt at the
ATM or gas station is an open invitation for identity thieves.

- Maintain good files and records of your financial transactions. Know what you've purchased,
when, and from whom. Store your old account statements in a safe place. And be sure to shred
any papers with personal information before you throw it away.

- The FBI recently reported that a third of identity theft victims admitted the thief was a coworker
or friend. Be careful not to leave personal information out in the open on your desk or in
your home office. And don't ask anyone else to hold your personal papers for you. In this case,
most of the identity theft suspects were well aware of their victim's habits and lifestyle.

- Carefully guard your User IDs and passwords for online accounts. When you create them,
don't go for the easy-to-remember. People who know you may be able to guess simple,
straightforward user IDs and passwords. And don't write your passwords down or keep them
where someone can get to them. If you store them electronically, make sure the files are
protected.

- Get and keep regular copies of your credit reports and account statements. Use one or all of
the three major agencies (Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax) to get your credit report. Don't
depend on less reputable reporting agencies.

- Opt out of mailing lists whenever you can, and ask telemarketers to "take your name off their
list." By law, they can't call you again for a year. If you have any doubts, check with your bank
and credit accounts to find out what they do with your personal information and what you need
to do to better protect it.

- Don't have printed or write your social security number on your checks. Might as well send it
up a flag. Some states still use social security numbers for drivers licenses, but they are
changing. Check with your DMV to see if you can have your drivers license changed to remove
your social security number.

- Don't keep a written list of your bank or other account numbers where they might be seen by
someone else. Keep lists of this type of information under lock and key.

- Do not respond to and delete any e-mails that ask for an account number or other personal
information. Stop internet and snail-mail credit card offers. Install firewall and anti-spyware on
your computer for additional protection. If your computer has the feature, register your
fingerprint as an additional safety feature.

- Purchase new checks from the bank, not a discount service. And rather than having your full
name printed on the checks, use your initial.

- Do not carry PINs in your wallet or purse, and never give them out over the phone.
What If I'm Already a Victim?

If you think someone else is using your identity or personal financial information inappropriately,
contact the nearest office of the U.S. Department of Justice. Contact your creditors to alert them
to the fraud. Also inform your bank of the activity and secure their agreement to help protect
your information. You may want to revisit the names of people authorized to access your
personal financial information and limit it to essential parties only. Find out as much as you can
about the accounts, purchases, and applications the identity thief has made using your name.
Then contact those companies directly and immediately to make sure they close the accounts
and notify law enforcement when they become aware of any additional transactions.

Immediately notify the credit reporting agency and creditors if you see suspicious activity or if
you find errors like a closed account that shows as open or a paid-off balance that appears to
be outstanding. You may have to provide documentation to support corrections, and you may
have to make the same contact several times to assure the correction is made. But be
persistent. Your credit report is a direct reflection of your financial dealings. Creditors and credit
report agencies are obligated to report correct information.

http://securitysurvival.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-can-i-prevent-having-my-identity.html#more
 

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Woodchuck
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3,347 Posts
Then there are those cases you cannot prevent or foresee. When I went to get financing for my home there was a bad check on it in collections. I asked the company that was collecting to send proof and they sent a copy of a check. It had my name and address on it as well as a drivers license number on the back. The signature was not mine, the bank was not mine and the driver’s license was not my number. BTW, it was for around $300.00 at a Kroger’s grocery, the one I sometimes stop at.

Reported it to the police and informed the collection company it was not my debit. Police inform me that it was a fictitious account number at the bank, again, not my bank. The drivers license # was fictitious also. They also said that same license # was used on other checks, same bank account number, with different people’s names and addresses. So, someone printed up checks and forged a NC driver’s license and as far as I know are still out there doing it! Getting that bad check off my credit reports was a two year long affair. I sent them the police reports, letter from the other bank that I never had an account there, my bank that that was not my account # and some other crap they needed.

Bottom line they changed the status from in collections to resolved or satisfied (or something like that) NOT REMOVE it like they should have. To this day it sits there as the credit companies will not remove it and the collection agency asks for the same paperwork over again to verify. In the end it would be cheaper to pay the $300 than to hire a lawyer to get it off, I believe that is what they figure also.
 

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Banned
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emails phishing for information

This is excellent information. It happens to be a subject that I am all about.

Somehow, I got on some email list many years ago, and some days I get dozens of emails: I have won the lottery in Great Britain, my good friend in Nigeria has died and left me multi-millions, Paypal has a problem with my account. These are all scams, phishing for information. But they are often from my "dear friend." And sometimes, why haven't I responded to their numerous attempts to contact me?

But in another area:

Somehow, my property is at the end of a local wind tunnel and trash blows in here from miles away. It is not unusual for there to be bills, opened mail, financial documents, etc. with people names and information on it in my yard.

We have people regularly go through the trash in the dumpster in the alley. They open the lids, tear open the big trash bags and leave the lids open as they go on their way. A few years ago I came home to find some business type cards that my daughter had made for herself with her name, address, phone number and email address all over the alley. THAT got my attention.

I have worn out several shredders. I know close friends and family who think I am over the top about it and throw all kinds of stuff in the dumpster. Better safe than sorry. There are many opportunists out there, working the world. If they are going to steal my identity they are going to have to work harder than that.

That doesn't mean they are not looking for ways to get over on any of us in ways we haven't even conceived.
 

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Supporting Member
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I have worn out several shredders. I know close friends and family who think I am over the top about it and throw all kinds of stuff in the dumpster. Better safe than sorry. There are many opportunists out there, working the world. If they are going to steal my identity they are going to have to work harder than that.
I hear you on that. One thing I love about having the wood-burning stove going in the winter - so easy to just toss that stuff in there to burn.
 

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We're lucky to live in a municipality that still allows open fires. I use a 55 gallon oil drum to burn anything that can be burned.
 

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The wanderer
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We're lucky to live in a municipality that still allows open fires. I use a 55 gallon oil drum to burn anything that can be burned.
Good idea! Ours goes in the woodstove. We've had a couple of bad experiences in our family. My husband and I had our checking account hacked and drained a few years ago, and our son-in-law started getting hounded by the IRS for income he didn't earn, from a job in a far-away state he's never been to.

Protect your info any way you can.
 

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Still waiting for the zombies.
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Online credit card purchases.

You'll have to check with your card, but for mine the card company offers a service on their website where I can login, and request a temporary number good for a limited amount of time and a fixed amount of money.

So let's say I'm on XYZ web site and want to buy something. I do the whole check out and my total is 47.53 and it's ready for credit card info. I switch to another window, login to my credit card site and request a number with a $48 limit good for 2 months (minimum amount of time). It instantly generates a new number, exp date and CCV code. I then put that info into the XYZ system and have never had to expose my real credit card number to them.

If XYZ is staffed by all honorable people who don't steal my data, they could still be hacked and have this data stolen. Since the temporary number expires in the near future AND it only good for $48 and has had 47.53 already put on it the hacker/thieves get nothing useful.

Another option is to buy prepaid credit cards with a limited amount on them and use those for online purchases.
 

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performing monkey
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4,230 Posts
Eventhough burning your bills and paperwork might work on a small scale, social media has opened the doors for newer and more dangerous types of id theft. CulexPipiens mentions online purchases, they are indeed one of the main sources of id theft. If your bank does not offer temporary numbers, you can also enlist the services of idfraudprotect.com.
They allow you a free scan where you can find out if your information has been previously stolen or compromised and for $9 a month they can alert you the moment any theft or purchase of your identity is discovered.

:bullit: For more information please visit idfraudprotect.com or contact me at [email protected]
vendors' section when offering to sell services please
 

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performing monkey
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people use their REAL name/info with social media?!!?!? :nuts:
 

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Still waiting for the zombies.
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