Safeguard Your Identity and Celebrate Fraud Awareness Week
Have you ever wondered about the activities happening outside your home, business, or on the streets while you sleep peacefully in your warm bed at night? The world is always in motion, and unfortunately, some of that activity involves thieves on the prowl for your private information. These identity thieves can be patient and clever, often scouring garbage, dumpsters, and recycling bins for your private information. This is why fraud awareness is so important.
From November 12-18, 2023, Fraud Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about safeguarding your finances year-round. Here we share our suggestions to help you protect your valuable information from would-be thieves.
10 Suggestions to Safeguard Your Identity
- Review Your Statements. Each time you receive credit card or bank statements, take the time to carefully review all transactions. Promptly address any discrepancies to prevent future issues.
- Secure Your Mail. Your mail contains lots of sensitive information. You want to keep your mail safe from being seen or stolen. If you have a standard mailbox by the road, consider emptying it frequently or having someone check it anytime you are away. If possible, invest in a private, locked mailbox.
- Check Your Credit Report. Everyone has a credit report containing details about their credit history and current financial standing, allowing lenders to assess their risk in working with you. Ensure your credit report is accurate. You can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- Store Important Documents Securely. Personal documents shouldn’t be kept in your purse or wallet. Keep your Social Security card, less frequently used credit cards, birth certificates, immigration documents, insurance policies and banking information in a secure place, such as a fireproof lockbox.
- Beware of Unsolicited Calls and Emails. Be cautious about answering unrecognized phone calls and clicking on links in emails from unknown sources. These are often initiated with the intent to steal your private information so your identity can be used for their personal gain. Utilize the National Do Not Call Registry to stop suspicious phone calls and identify phishing scams as junk mail or forward them to email@example.com.
- Create Strong Passwords. Use complex passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid easily guessable information such as family names, important dates, or events. Change your password regularly and avoid storing them on your computer or cell phone as both are accessible through WiFi signals.
- Stay Updated. Keep your security, virus and spyware software up to date to protect your information from hackers. Neglecting updates puts your information at risk of being stolen.
- Be Cautious on Social Media. Be mindful of what you post on social media. Identity thieves often look for personal information or signs that you aren’t at home. Be cautious of what you post and share.
- Use a Single Credit Card for Online Purchases. Limit your risk by using only one credit card for online purchases, which is easier to monitor. Avoid using debit cards online as they lack the same level of protection.
- Shred Sensitive Documents. Remember those thieves making their rounds to search garbage containers, dumpsters and recycling bins? Your discarded documents could be their next target. Ensure anything you dispose of is not only shredded, but thoroughly destroyed to the point of being unreadable or reconstructable. This includes items like financial documents, boarding passes, handwritten notes or anything containing sensitive information. To guarantee proper disposal, consider the services of a local, NAID AAA Certified shredding company. Professional shredding isn’t just for large commercial businesses; it’s for small businesses and individuals, too.
Who Do You Trust?
Richards & Richards is a NAID AAA Certified shredding company that can securely destroy your information, whether you need commercial shredding or residential shredding. Our industrial shredders and secure processes ensure your documents cannot be read or reconstructed. Call us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page to start shredding and recycling your private information. Happy Fraud Awareness Week!