10 Tips for Protecting Your Identity in 2012

1. Never put your non-public information online. (Facebook Profile)

Assume a criminal can see and read everything you put on Facebook.

2. Do not store documents with personal information online. (Google Docs)

Beware: Social Security numbers available online via indexed tax documents

The danger of Cloud document storage is losing control of your Private Personal Information. Do you know if the servers storing your information are in the USA, or are they in China?

3. Shed all documents that contain your identifying information.

Thieves go through your trash to find pieces of your identity. The more they can get the easier it is to get everything about you.

4. Use strong passwords. (57roN6*Pa55w0rds)

The most common password used is ‘password’. Do not use real words. A simple dictionary search will break it in seconds. Your password needs to at least 8 characters long using UPPER and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. (…and substituting numbers and special characters into a real word is NOT a good idea.)

5. Examine a free credit report from a different credit bureau every 4 months. (AnnualCreditReport.com)

Every 12 months you can get a free credit report. If you get one from a different credit bureau every 4 months, you will have a running monitoring process in place. Read them and dispute all wrong entries. If you find evidence of Identity Theft:

  • Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit
  • Close accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently
  • Complete FTC ID Theft Affidavit
  • File a police report
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission

6. Check your bank accounts, investment accounts and credit cards every week.

The instant you report fraudulent activity on your accounts, your liability for new charges ends. The sooner you start correcting fraud, the easier it is to correct.

7. Ask “why do you need my Social Security number (SSN)?”

Your Social Security number (SSN) is the master key to your identity. With your SSN a thief can steal your credit, your tax refund, your medical identity, your government benefits, etc. Protect your SSN like you would protect your cash!

8. Opt-Out (optoutprescreen.com)

Did you know you can tell the credit bureaus not to sell your information to marketing firms? Opt-Out today!

9. Use a monitoring service that will help you Deter thieves, Detect a breach & Restore your identity.

I know of only one service – Identity Theft Shield – that provides Identity Theft Consultation before you are a victim, Credit Monitoring and Restoration services if you become a victim for one monthly fee for husband and wife plus all children.

10. Follow my blog and tweets.

bdemarest.wordpress.com

@brucedemarest

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About Bruce Demarest

Bruce Demarest is a Identity Theft Protection Specialist. He has designed and taught classes to educate individuals and businesses in identity theft risk management. The individuals have learned how to continuously monitor their financial identities from credit fraud, plus how to monitor their personal identifying information for unauthorized use. His business clients have become compliant with the federal & state privacy laws. He has conducted information security audits to identify their potential problems and has designed security policies, programs, and practices to address those problem areas.
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2 Responses to 10 Tips for Protecting Your Identity in 2012

  1. Pingback: Protect Your Credit | Credit Self

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