LAST YEAR IDENTITY THEFT COST CONSUMERS IN THE U.S. ALMOST FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.
EARL JOHNSON, CEO OF ICI COMPANIES HAS A FEW SELF-DEFENSE STRATEGIES TO STOP THIS CRIME BEFORE IT HAPPENS TO YOU!
1. THE INTERNET POSES A HUGE THREAT. HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF:
a) don’t store credit card info on a website
b) don’t open or respond to unwanted email or email from a party you don’t know. This can unleash a “worm” air virus on your computer that will disable your system and/or allow hackers to get in.
c) make sure you are on a secure page when shopping on the Internet.
d) use just one credit card exclusively for internet shopping
e) utilize virus and security protection. These can be purchased or provided for free by firms like Microsoft for users of their operating system.
2. ATMs, ALMOST EVERYONE USES THEM AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THREATS YOU FACE USING THEM?
a) do not use convenience store ATMs or those not provided by a financial institution.
b), choose a pin number that’s hard to crack
c) always make sure no one is looking over you shoulder while you’re using an ATM
d) make sure the ATM hasn’t been tampered with
e) use ATSMs that are in trafficked and well lit areas and not isolated or hidden from view
3. YOUR PHONE CAN ALSO EXPOSE YOU TO IDENTITY THEFT.
WHAT ARE SOME PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE?
a) do not give out personal info over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call own know the party you’re speaking to
b) register with a national do not cal system
c) don’t offer up your social security, credit card or bank account numbers unless you know who you’re speaking to
d) do not send money over currency apps or give credit/debit card info to parties you don’t know. Current scams revolve around grand children in trouble needing money, “Medicare” or “IRS” calls threatening legal action if “past due balances” aren’t remitted immediately or any other call from a bank or financial institution requesting verification of account numbers, PIN numbers, etc.
4. RECENTLY, THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CHANGES TO THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT WHICH WILL ENABLE EVERYONE TO OBTAIN ONE FREE CREDIT REPORT A YEAR.
a) consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report every 12 months. All three of the credit reporting agencies are required by law to fulfill the request. Log onto consumer.gov for more info or refer to ICI’s website icicompanies.com