What is personal information?
Personal information is defined as a person’s name combined with either a Social Security number, a state drivers’ license or state identification card, or a financial account number along with a security code or access code or password.
Where is your stuff?
Keep identity documents like your Social Security card in a secure location that you will remember. If you carry lots and lots of credit and debit cards in your wallet, keep a list at home with the card numbers and each company’s 800 number for lost and stolen cards.
1. Do not carry your Social Security Card in your wallet.
Store it in a secure place.
2. Only give out your Social Security Number when necessary.
Yes, you can say no. When booking flights to Wisconsin, my credit card company called me with a fraud alert. Were the airline charges mine? I appreciated them checking in but when asked for my Social Security number to verify my identity I said “I do not give out my Social Security Number to companies that call me.” The rep said that was very reasonable and asked for alternate information.
3. Email is like a post card
Do not send personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card information, and banking information via email.
4. Send those credit card offers back.
When I get a credit card offer in the mail, I put a line through the address block, write “REMOVE” on it and stuff it back in the self addressed stamped envelope. Yes, it works; I have received letters confirming I have been removed from the mailing list. Let the credit card company pay the postage and be responsible for shredding the application.
5. Don’t click that link!
Folks are getting very good at phishing. Think before you click. If you are wondering “What is this? I did not order/sign up/request this.” It’s a good sign you are looking at a phishy email. Check the ‘From’ address before you click on links from Facebook, Linked In, and Inuit. I have seen phishing impersonators for all these sites.
The Federal Trade Commission has great tips for helping you handle identity theft.
Deter, Detect, Defend
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft – IRS You Tube
IRS You Tube Video