Everyone is susceptible to identity
theft. The young or old, rich or poor – be careful.
Here are 10 important tips and facts about identity theft so
you can avoid becoming a victim.
1. Thieves do not need your credit card to steal your
identity. Thieves need only one piece of information about you like
your social security or birthdate. Then they can get the
rest. Never give out your social security number on the phone
or internet unless you have an existing relationship with that
person or business.
2. A thief can easily obtain personal information
about you online. Nonfinancial information is easily
accessible on social networking sites like Facebook and
Linkedin. Be careful and think twice before publishing
your address and/or birthdate.
3. Watch your monthly bills and make sure you receive your
credit card statements and ordered checks. Identity thefts
can intercept credit card bills to change the billing
address. They can rack up a lot of charges on your credit
card before you realize it is stolen. Also, they can write
checks off your account by obtaining blank checks ordered in the
4. Review your bank and credit card statements carefully for
small charges. Thieves often test out the account by charging
a small amount, even a few pennies before purchasing a block of
credit cards. Fraud alerts are generally not activated by
purchases under a certain dollar amount.
5. Review your credit
report regularly. This is a good idea. You are
entitled to ONE FREE COPY of each of your three credit reports
every twelve (12) months by accessing this website or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
6. If an ATM does not look right, do not use it. If
the card feels differently after you swipe it or the machine looks
unusual, avoid the machine or immediately cancel the
transaction. There could be a credit card skimmer attached to
the ATM. Skimmers are electronic devices placed in the card
slot by thieves. The skimmers capture your credit card
information when you swipe it.
7. Identity thieves can be sneaky, so you need to be
sneaky, too. For example, sign your name on the back of your
credit card with a Sharpie so it can’t be erased. One person
kept the “please activate” sticker on their card. On more
than one occasion, that kept thieves from taking her credit
8. Pay attention when you pay with a credit card.
Make sure the clerk is not taking too much time or the customer
behind you isn’t looking over your shoulder. If the purchase
seems suspicious in any way, check your statements for unusual
9. Go paperless and become friendly with the
shredder. If possible, get your monthly financial statements
and bills sent to you electronically. Also, make sure to
shred all documents that contain personal and financial
information. Invest in a shredder and use it
10. Consider investing in identity theft insurance.
This can be helpful, but make sure you read the fine print and
understand the terms. You can also contact our firm for
a free copy of our Identity Theft
Most importantly, you have questions about your identity that
remains unanswered. Or maybe your credit report has errors
and you don’t know where to turn. SmithMarco, P.C., has
over 30 years of combined experience practicing law protecting the
rights of consumers around the country. Call now for a free, confidential case review.
We offer friendly, personal service from an attorney. To read
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