The topic for the third week of Fraud prevention Month is ID Theft because last year thousands of Michigan residents fell victim to it. Many times young adults aged 18-24 are among the last to detect identity theft when compared to other age groups.
The BBB recommends that you take the following seven steps to fight identity theft:
· Safeguard your Social Insurance number. If asked for it, don’t automatically give it. Ask how it will be used. Before providing it orally, check to see who might be listening. Don’t regularly carry your Social Insurance card. Also, don’t have your Social Insurance Number printed on your driver’s license or cheques.
· Don’t carry your birth certificate, passport, or extra credit cards, except when necessary.
· Don’t leave mail in your mailbox overnight or on the weekends. Deposit outgoing mail in Canada Post collection boxes. You may consider installing a locking mailbox.
· Important documents should be stored under lock and key. This includes your Social Insurance Card, passport and bank and credit statements. Shred credit card offers and any paper documents that have sensitive financial information, rather than just tossing them out.
· Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software, which help keep your computer safe from any advances by identity thieves online. Log out when you are finished doing your on line banking.
· Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify, and report, any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
· Check out unfamiliar websites with the BBB. Look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal along with other trust seals; click on the seal to confirm it is legitimate. Make sure the url is “https:” not “http” before adding your financial information.· Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to one free report a year from each of the reporting bureaus; TransUnion and Equifax. Look for any suspicious activity or inaccuracies. False credit reports could affect your ability to receive a student loan.