Last year, more than 8
million Americans were victims of identity theft, resulting in the loss of more
than $37 billion.* With eye-opening statistics like these, it is imperative that
Americans continue to take an active role in protecting their sensitive
information from potential harm.
consumers in taking action, Better Business
Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (bbb.org)
offers 10 everyday habits to help them protect their identities, online and
- Secure your personal documents at
Securing your personal documents at home is always a good idea,
especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done
in your house.
- Shred any mail that you don’t want to
credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms
and billing statements. Also cut up expired credit and debit
- Monitor your bank and credit card
Criminals with your
account number generally start with small transactions to see if you’ll
- Protect your Social Security number,
all account numbers and passwords.
Don’t carry these numbers in your
wallet. Also, minimize the personal information you print on checks. You don’t
need to include your Social Security number, phone number or driver’s license
respond to emails requesting to “verify” your personal information and
Your bank, credit card company, online payment system, the
IRS—none of these organizations will call or email asking for your confidential
information. They already have it.
- Don’t create obvious
Mix in some numbers with capital and
- Never use
email to communicate sensitive personal
Examples of such personal information are your user name,
passwords, Social Security number or credit card number.
- Don’t use
your PDA or cell phone to store bank information.
Consumers should never store bank
information such as credit card numbers or other financial information on their cellular
- Keep your
computer system and browser software up to date and set the highest security
level you can tolerate.
Back up your data regularly on a separate storage device and
never store passwords or financial information on your hard
your credit report at least once per year.
There is only one source authorized
to give you ONE FREE annual credit file disclosure per year from each of the
three consumer reporting companies. Call 877.322.8228 or visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
is a life-altering experience that can leave a tremendous emotional and
financial burden,” says Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB Serving Eastern
North Carolina. “Practicing these simple everyday habits is a excellent
proactive step in deterring identity thieves.”
Barfield also adds that
if a consumer’s identification or credit card
is lost or stolen, they should immediately notify their
credit providers by phone, and then notify each of the three credit bureaus to
discuss if placing a “Fraud Alert” on your file is necessary. This alert tells
creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in the
consumer’s name or make changes to existing accounts. The three credit bureaus
may be reached at:
further assist members of the community, BBB is hosting its
semi-annual “Secure Your ID” Day. The event will take place on
Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. Free document shredding and ID protection tips will be
offered from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot at Coastal Federal
Credit Union’s headquarters on St. Albans Drive in Raleigh. Additional
information is available at www.easternnc.bbb.org/secure-your-id.