We are known primarily for our superior access control, visitor management, personnel identification, surveillance, monitoring and alarm systems and products. But because security is our middle name, this issue of the Security Sentinel will briefly explore the escalating phenomenon of identity theft.
This serious and ever-growing crime occurs when someone uses your name, social security number, credit card number or other identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
There are numerous ways in which identity theft can manifest itself – money missing from your checking account, fraudulent or suspicious charges on a credit card or a new account opening in your name, to name a few.
While you cannot completely prevent ID theft from occurring, there are ways to protect yourself. Taking proactive steps now can reduce the debilitating impacts of the crime.
Steps to protect your self from identity theft:
- Secure your social security number. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your (SSN) when absolutely necessary.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail or online.
- Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Review your receipts. Ask for carbon copies and incorrect charge slips, as well. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred data, i.e. receipts, credit offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach