Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | March 15, 2010

Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

“But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed.” – Shakespeare, Othello, act iii. Sc. 3.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 1.6 million households have experienced some form of theft when it comes to their financial accounts. Here are some important tips for keeping your information safe and sound:

Just the Facts. Don’t give unnecessary information like your date of birth and income level when you’re filling out things like warranty cards or supermarket club cards. Share only what’s really necessary in every situation.

Navigating the Net. Never post your address or your full date of birth on any social networking sites because both are pieces of information needed to steal your identity.

Searching for a Job? Never give a potential employer your Social Security number on an Internet job site. Also, thoroughly read the privacy policies of any online job boards to make sure they won’t sell your information.

Safe Keeping. Never keep your Social Security number in your wallet, glove compartment, or any other easy-to-access place. Also, never have it printed on your checks or use it as your password.

Shred ‘Em. Remember, when you’re ready to get rid of old documents that contain important information, shred them with a cross cut shredder.

Protect Your Mail. If you have to mail something that contains sensitive information, use a secure mailbox (not the one at the end of your driveway).

Look for Security. When you’re shopping online, look for a gold lock on the bottom right-hand side of the screen.  If it’s there, you can trust that it is a safe website.  If it’s not, don’t trust it with your personal information.

Use a one-time account number. Many banks can assign a one-time use account number to a specific online transaction.  That way, your whole account’s information is not tied directly to the purchase.  Call your bank to see if that’s an option for you.

The bottom line is this: When it comes to your personal information, share it on a need-to-know basis only!

*Thanks to Ted Seidel for the majority of these tips.  You can contact him at tseidel@mybrazosbank.com if you are in the Dallas area and have any banking needs.

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