The smartest way to protect yourself from identity theft is to prevent it from happening to you. The Insurance Information Institute provides these tips for avoiding identity theft:
- Keep the amount of personal information in your purse or wallet to the bare minimum.
- Avoid carrying additional credit cards, your social security card or passport unless absolutely necessary.
- Guard your credit card when making purchases.
- Shield your hand when using ATM machines. Don’t fall prey to “shoulder surfers” who may be nearby.
- Don’t throw credit card or ATM receipts into public trash containers, leave them on the counter or put them in your shopping bag where they can easily fall out or get stolen.
- Do not give out personal information unless you have initiated the contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with and that they have a secure line.
- Proceed with caution when shopping online. Use only authenticated websites to conduct business online. Before submitting personal or financial information through a website, check for the locked padlock image on your browser’s status bar or look for "https://" (rather than http://) in your browser window.
- Be aware of phishing and pharming scams. In these scams, criminals use fake emails and websites to impersonate legitimate organizations.
- Exercise caution when opening emails and instant messages from unknown sources and never give out personal, financial or password related information via email.
- Make sure you have firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs installed on your computer. These programs should always be up to date.
- Monitor your accounts. Don’t rely on your credit card company or bank to alert you of suspicious activity. If you suspect a problem, contact your credit card company or bank immediately.
- Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. A new law that took effect December 1, 2004, entitles you to one free credit report per year. Make sure it's accurate and includes only those activities you've authorized.
- Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, any part of your Social Security number or phone number, or any series of consecutive numbers. If you suspect a problem with your credit card, change your password.
- Shred any documents containing personal information such as credit card numbers, bank statements, charge receipts or credit card applications, before disposing of them.
Fortunately, identity theft protection is also available as an endorsement on most homeowners’ policies at a small cost. The coverage reimburses certain expenses associated with identity recovery. Customers can also get additional guidance on how to protect themselves from identity theft before it happens and may receive assistance with identity restoration.
If you’re interested in learning more, call ALINK Insurance Services today!
Denver Metro/Parker: 303-752-6479
Colorado Springs: 719-473-6262
Surrounding States: 877-643-6148
We’re your link to security!