It is extremely important to guard, to protect your confidential and personal data, from identity thieves.  There are preventive measures such as the following simple safety tips below and invest in an identity theft protection plan that offers full restoration.  Full restoration that includes restoring your good name back to the way it was, once it has been compromised.  While common sense practices can be used; there is no way to prevent criminals from infiltrating your personal data.

Safety Tips:

Checking account number and routing number:

Be cautious about releasing your checking account number and routing number to anyone that you do not know (over the phone or while transacting business).  While your financial institution is responsible for protecting your personal and confidential information in their possession, there are some preventive measures that consumers should take.  My view is that consumers must use wisdom, ask to whom and why are you giving your personal information to a person or business?  Ask enough questions to make informed decisions.

Social Security Number:

Your social security number identifies who you are.  Avoid being bashful when someone is asking for your social security number, ask questions.  Do not be afraid to inquire what their plans are for using it (doctor’s office, dentist etc.).  If you do not know the person asking for it, don’t release it.  It’s that simple and important that you protect your life; because someone can wreak havoc using your information.

Phishing E-mails:

Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.  Clicking on unfamiliar e-mails opens you up to becoming an easy victim for scams.  If you are hesitant about opening an e-mail, trust your intuition and do not open it.

Personal Confidential Information:

Be aware of phone calls from someone who is asking you to verify personal and confidential information involving your name along with any of the following: Social Security number, Driver license number or an Identification card number (in your state), bank account number, credit or debit card number, any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual’s financial account and Medical information.  A thief can become you by collecting some of the information listed here and acquire loans or commit crimes in your name.  Be aware.

Cyber/Social Media Identity Breaches:

Social Media is a breeding ground for identity thieves to have a field day.  Be very mindful that when you share personal and confidential data such as your birth date, address, post diplomas,and even share when and where you are going on vacation.  This gives thieves enough information to use your personal data to become you.  It is possible that your educational background could be used for someone else to qualify for a job.  Thieves can change your address while you are away and receive your mail.  They could use your vacation location/information to alert your financial institutions that you will be traveling out of the state or country to use your debit card info without your consent.  It can get complicated; be aware and less willing to release so much information to strangers.  Remember, everyone on social media are not your friends.

Avoid co-signing on any loans for anyone:

A co-signer is an individual that who signs an official document, using their good name and credit worthiness (i.e. to guarantee re-payment on a loan) for a person who cannot qualify on their own.  Should the applicant default on the loan, the responsibility becomes the co-signer’s.  If you are not prepared or want to take on another loan, avoid co-signing.

Your comments are encouraged and welcome.  E-mail me at christineroebuck@livemylifedebtfree.com.

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