Fight Back -- 8 Simple Ways
Karen Lodrick's website, fightingbacknow.com, offers these tips to protect yourself from ID thieves: 01. Opt out of unsolicited credit card offers by calling 888-567-8688 (supported by the consumer credit reporting industry). 02. Get spyware protection for your computer, such as Ad-Aware (free at lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware). 03. Don't return warranty cards for purchased items. Save your receipt -- that's all you need to make a claim. 04. Have all your mail sent to a post office box rather than to your home address. 05. Never open e-mail from people you don't know. 06. Use different passwords for your online accounts. 07. Mix numbers and letters, upper and lowercase, in passwords. 08. Shred all documents, especially from credit card companies, before discarding.
More Ways to Protect Yourself
Here are 10 additional tips from fightingbacknow.com that will help you protect your identity online and in mail:
1. Monitor your credit report regularly. You can request one free report a year, and you can also sign up with the three major credit bureaus to be alerted of any unusual activity.
2. Stop giving out your Social Security number. Only a few places have the authority to ask for your Social Security number—your employer, the Department of Motor Vehicles, welfare services, the IRS, and institutions that deal with your taxes, like your bank or a brokerage house.
3. Make sure you’re getting all of your bills each month. If one goes missing, contact the company right away. Have a lot of bills? Keep a list of them so you don’t lose track.
4. Review your credit card statements diligently. 5. Make sure each purchase is yours and if not, notify the company immediately.
5. Check your bank statement each month. This is time consuming, but worth it! Bank policy is that you only have one month to put in a claim of fraud if you want the bank to recover your money.
6. Strip your computer before donating it. Make sure all of your information is removed from your personal computer before donating it by wiping the hard drive or taking it out and destroying them.
7. Get a second (or third) e-mail-account.8. Establish a separate e-mail account and use it specifically and exclusively for online purchases. That should make your private accounts less vulnerable.
8.. Consider a different browser. The most popular browser is Internet Explorer, which is pre-installed on most personal computers. Most viruses and spyware programs target this browser as a result, so try using alternative browsers such as Firefox or Opera, which can be downloaded free of charge.
9. Just say no. Sign up for the Do Not Call list (donotcall.gov); stop pre-approved credit card and insurance offers from reaching you by mail or phone (optoutprescreen.com).
10. Box junk mail. Use the Direct Marketing Association to help you stop receiving mailings (https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/).
Source: Readers Digest 8/10