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Identity Theft

Identity theft is the most prolific financial crime committed against citizens throughout the country. The cost to consumers in general including increased bank and credit card fees to cover the cost recover lost funds impacts even non-victims as this is past on to all of us. These are some tips to prevent being a victim.

  1. Buy a crosscut paper shredder and shred all documents which containing your personal information before throwing them in the trash.
  2. Limit who you give personal information to including health care workers, retail stores and cold call sales people. Ask why the information is needed and if you don’t feel comfortable with the response, don’t give it out.
  3. Mark all your credit cards “Request Photo ID” in the signature line on the back.
  4. Do not give out personal information on line unless you confident that the site is secure. Usually the URL will include “https”.
  5. Install a quality virus protection and firewall software package on your home computer and update it frequently.
  6. Go paperless for your bill payments and enroll in a direct deposit program at work for your paycheck.
  7. Federal law requires credit-reporting companies to provide one free credit report annually. Go to www.FTC.gov for more information. Check your history as frequent as possible.
  8. Use common sense. If you are not comfortable giving out you personal information, don’t do it.