Recognize the Risks-
Understanding how identity theft works is one of the best ways to prevent it. It can involve devices that steal your credit card numbers when you make a purchase, or it can involve a sophisticated hacking scheme, but there are many low-tech methods as well. Thieves will sometimes search dumpsters for your bank or investment account statements or other confidential documents. If you believe this has happened to you or is likely to happen, you should consider purchasing a paper shredder or simply tearing up your statements before discarding them to make it more difficult for thieves to obtain information from them. If you own a small business, keep in mind that federal and state laws require businesses with as few as one employee to destroy confidential information before disposing of it. These laws will only become more stringent and broaden in scope over time.
Don't Take the Bait-Phishing has been around for a while, but scam artists keep coming up with new angles, so it's best to be cautious. Phishing typically involves a forged email or other communication that appears to be from your bank, another financial institution, or even a government agency. The message encourages you to click on a link where you will be asked to reveal sensitive financial information. If you receive this type of communication, call the organization that supposedly sent it to confirm its legitimacy. In most cases, you will discover that it is not.
Maintain Your Credit Scores-Identity thieves may not only steal your credit card number, but they may also open completely separate accounts in your name and then fail to pay the bills they accumulate. Monitoring your credit ratings with the three major credit rating agencies is one way to find out if this is happening to you (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). If you discover accounts you've never heard of, you may be able to avoid some of the consequences of identity theft, such as damage to your credit rating.
Don't Overshare on Social Media-
On Facebook or other social media accounts, many people reveal their full birthdays as well as personal details such as pets' or school names. Unfortunately, this is the type of information used by financial institutions and other organizations to verify your identity before granting you access to your account. While it's entertaining to share these details with friends, there's a significant risk that thieves will use them to empty your bank account, run up charges in your name, or open an account you have no knowledge of. Consider how an identity thief might use the information on your online profile before you fill it out.
Act Quickly-If you discover that your identity has been stolen, there are several steps you should take right away. Make a police report to keep a record of the theft and any consequences you discover. Any related transactions should be challenged with the merchants or financial institutions involved, and any accounts to which thieves may have gained access should be closed. Report the issue to the credit bureaus and request that your credit reports be corrected and a fraud alert be placed on your records. Inform your creditors as well, in case changes in your credit rating affect your borrowing options. Finally, consider submitting an ID Theft Complaint Form to the Federal Trade Commission.
Manley and his small team at his Farmers Insurance agency in Omaha, Nebraska have grown the agency into the state's largest Farmers Insurance agency through hard work, dedication, and attending to clients' needs both passionately and professionally. His agency is also the second largest in the Farmers Insurance region. Manley's community service includes involvement with the Siena/Francis House, Restoration Exchange, Homeward Bound animal rescue, Ronald McDonald House, and The Stephen Center. Call him at (402) 391-1656 and he'll gladly answer any questions you may have."""