Tags: Protecting | Yourself | From | Identity | Theft

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

Friday, 08 April 2005 12:00 AM

Many times, sadly, innocent consumers are not even aware they have been victimized by identity thieves until they are contacted by collection agencies trying to cover debts they did not even know they had.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages folks to make sure their transactions, both online and off, are secure and that personal information is protected.

Here are some FTC tips to help you protect your personal data:

1. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Ask about the company's privacy policy.

2. Read the privacy policy on any Web site directed to children. Web sites directed to children or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their information collection practices.

3. Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, or obvious choices like a series of consecutive numbers or your hometown football team.

4. Minimize the identification information and the number of credit cards you carry to what you will actually need. Do not put all you identifying information in one holder in your purse, briefcase or backpack.

5. Keep items with your personal information in a safe place. When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, credit offers you get in the mail, and mailing labels from magazines – tear or shred them.

6. Consider ordering a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every year. Make sure it is accurate and includes only those activities you have authorized.

7. Use a secure browser when shopping online to help guard the security of your transactions. When submitting your purchase information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission.

For more information, log on to www.ftc.gov.

Identity theft is a particularly ugly crime. A victim of identity theft may have to spend many hours and hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars trying to restore their good name and reputation. These identity thugs are not just stealing something from you; they are, in effect, stealing "you."

(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.)

Copyright 2005 by Bruce Mandelblit

"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com Magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer.

Bruce writes Staying Safe, a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel -- the state's highest honor -- for his public service.

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

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Many times, sadly, innocent consumers are not even aware they have been victimized by identity thieves until they are contacted by collection agencies trying to cover debts they did not even know they had. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages folks to make sure...
Protecting,Yourself,From,Identity,Theft
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2005-00-08
Friday, 08 April 2005 12:00 AM
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