Tips on Protecting Your Identityby Tim Manni
Last week we briefly discussed protecting your identity on the internet:
Be sparing with your info on social-networking sites — identity thieves don’t need much more than your date of birth and Social Security number to steal your name and your assets. Ditto for online job boards: make sure they won’t sell your information.
Don’t let identity theft happen to you. Here are some helpful tips to keep your information to yourself:
- Get information in writing: Despite being on a do-not-call list, you are bound to get phone calls requesting monetary donations. Ask the caller to mail you information for review; if they resist, hang up.
- Give out only your most pertinent information: Too often consumers divulge unnecessary information like date of birth or salary level in unsuspecting circumstances. Even when filling out forms for grocery store bonus cards or product warranty cards, only give out information the situation calls for.
- Theft on paper: Even though the internet has opened up a new world of possibility for identity theft, personal information printed on paper remains an easy target. Never leave your Social Security card in an easily accessible place. If you possess any documents with important printed information on them, like a Social Security number or bank account information, shred them. Lastly if mailing an envelope with personal information inside, drop it in a secure mail box, instead of leaving it in your mailbox for the mailman to pick up.
According to the Justice Department, nearly 1.1 million households misused their personal information each year.