July 27, 2014 by Robert H. Stamper
The overall best defense against Identity Theft is being vigilant.
In today’s environment of online banking, online marketing and the high usage of both credit cards and debit cards, has made us all venerable to identity theft.
Only by being vigilant can we reduce this threat.
# 1.) Monitor your monthly bank statements and credit card statements as well as your credit reports:
- If you find anything that seems abnormal contact your bank IMMEDIATELY!
- Remember the faster you take action the less exposure you will have.
# 2.) Have one credit card that you use for all online purchases:
- Keep the credit line on that card low to reduce your exposure to loss.
- Monitor that statement closely for anything that looks suspicious.
- Take immediate action if you see anything abnormal on your statement.
# 3.) Never open emails where you do not know the sender. Also never open attachments from friends that look a little out of character to be coming from them.
- Unscrupulous individuals may send emails to you that are loaded with computer viruses as well as “Trojans” which are designed to steal your person information.
- One technique is for crooks to send an email that looks identical to that of your bank. This may be some type of a warning about your account or some other ploy to get you to open it and find out what is going on. If you ever receive such an email…STOP IMMEDIATELY…call your bank to verify what is going on. Inform the bank about the email and ask if they did send it to you.
- Never give any information to someone online that YOU have not initiated the contact.
# 4.) Protect you Social Security Card:
- Never carry you Social Security Card with you. Keep it safely locked in a lock box at home
- Never give out your Social Security Card number on the internet.
- Never give out your Social Security Card number on the phone unless YOU are the one that placed the call.
- Crooks often call pretending to be your bank and try and get you to give them your account information as “verification” before they give you information. This is an attempt to steal your identity. Stop and notify your bank.
# 5.) Never use “free wifi” location to do any type of banking or online purchases:
- These locations are convenient but they are not a secure location. Your information and passwords can be stolen by others using the same “free wifi”.
- Save important work for when you know you have a secure connection.
# 6.) Get your personal and family information together, organized and accessible:
- Having your personal and family information at your finger tips is critical. Easy to monitor and you can respond fast to identity theft. Speed is critical. The faster you respond the less the damage. I highly recommend using my book, The Family Stash and the Companion software as a guide to protecting your assets and information. Check the website for more information: http://familystash.com
# 7.) Never store financial information or other critical personal information on your
computer’s hard drive.
- We highly recommend that once you have completed your online banking for or other financial business, that you save those files and then back off the saved files to a flash drive, DVD or save to a secure “Cloud Sevice”.
- I personally recommend Carbonite as a secure “cloud service”. Carbonite uses state of the art encryption to protect all your information and identity.
- With your encrypted pass codes you can access your information from anywhere.
- We do have an affiliate program with Carbonite because it is the service that we trust and recommend. For more information click on the following link: http://partners.carbonite.com/evenkeelpublishing
# 8.) Use secure passwords/pins, and change them quarterly.
- Passwords should be based upon a alpha/numeric combination. The password should have no meaning to you what so ever. NEVER use a password that is based upon birthday’s, children’s names, or any other personal information. If someone knows you or does research on you it could make it impossible to discover your passwords.
- Change passwords quarterly.
- Keep passwords in a safe and secure location. Do NOT keep password in a file on your computer.
# 9.) Shred sensitive documents:
- Buy a small shredder for your home and shred things like credit card applications, old bank statements, bills and any items which show personal information. Identity theft began by people stealing trash from others. It’s a small step to protect yourself.
# 10.) Consider using a service like to monitor your accounts and credit reports:
- There are several very good services that you can hire to monitor all this for you.
- In our opinion LifeLock is the leader of this group. We have set up an affiliate program with LifeLock because it is the only one we recommend. They continue to be the industry leader. For more information here is a link to LifeLock: https://lifelock.directtrack.com/z/10534/CD11932/