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With tax season in full swing and recent news of credit card breach/identity scams with Target, Michael's and Neiman Marcus, here are some tips and tricks to protect your identity:
  1. Check your credit reports twice a year. You're entitled to one free report each year the the three major credit bureaus. Call 877-322-8228 or go to annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Enroll in credit and fraud monitoring services.
  3. Run debit card purchases as credit. Don't use a card as a debit unless you have to. Why? More fraud protections exist for credit cards.
  4. Strengthen your digital security. Choose good passwords and PINs. Don't use the same password for all your accounts. Avoid easily guess PINs like birth dates, numerical sequences, phone number, last four digits of your social security number, etc.
  5. Never store passwords for sensitive information on your phone or computer.
  6. Beware of phishing scams. Phishing involves seemingly harmless emails asking to verify sensitive information like passwords, account numbers or credit/security details. Other phishing emails include false lottery wins, requests for money to "help" people who have list money/tickets/house, etc.
  7. Shred documents with identifying information on them. Don't just throw away your old billing statements and other documents containing important information into your garbage. 
  8. Remove "risky" items from your wallet. Don't carry sensitive information like your social security card, "cheat sheets" with PINs and passwords, etc.
  9. Check with your insurance agent to see if your Homeowners, Condo or Renters policy has fraud protection.
  10. If you are a victim of fraud, know what to do. Visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft for steps and information on what to do if your identity is stolen. 

 

Posted 12:38 PM

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