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1 Identity Theft Prevention Practical, simple precautions for you and your business.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Identity Theft Prevention Practical, simple precautions for you and your business."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Identity Theft Prevention Practical, simple precautions for you and your business

2 2 General Prevention Ideas Get a handle on your personal credit profile –Obtain a free credit report for you & spouse from each of the 3 major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) , or (immediate access), or Annual Credit Report Request Form (, and mail to: –Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box Atlanta, GA –Stagger requests – once every 4 months Schedule a reminder in your calendar/BlackBerry –Also request a credit report for your business

3 3 General Prevention Ideas Once you have obtained your free credit reports: –Identify and verify all credit information Possible unknown a/cs, judgments, etc. –Close all dormant and/or unnecessary a/cs Contact credit card co., and advise them to noteacct. closed at customers request – credit score issues –Consider placing a Fraud Alert with credit bureaus (90 days, or 7 years) for both you and your spouse

4 4 Whats In Your Wallet? Lets take a quick inventory of personal information contents: Multiple Credit Cards? Drivers License? Health Insurance ID Card? Store Receipts? Automobile Registration and/or Auto Insurance Card? Frequent Flyer Card? Social Security Card? Telephone Numbers of Family/Friends? Password Cheat Sheet Card?

5 5 General Prevention Ideas Make a complete photocopy of everything (front and back) in both spouses wallet/purse –Important contact info. in the event of lost or stolen wallet/purse Store in secure location, other than safe deposit box, for access when needed (possibly on a Sunday) Maintain password protected info on PDA?

6 6 General Prevention Ideas for Small Businesses… Whats in your filing cabinets/computers? Implement a comprehensive Record Retention Policy (Handout w/suggestions) If you don't need it, don't collect it If you need it once, don't save it longer If you've got it, but you don't need to save it, dispose of it carefully If you have to keep it, think security –Both physical and virtual barriers Don't use SSNs as account numbers Create and enforce a company wide security policy Disconnect ex-employees immediately

7 7 General Prevention Ideas for Small Businesses… Small business owners and key managers need to take the initiative to educate themselves, or hire a security expert to assist in evaluating business security issues – - Security and Privacy – Made Simplerwww.bbb. –Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – Safeguard Rules Beef up internal controls / segregation of duties Conduct annual employee training –Include information re: Aggravated ID Theft statute, and mandatory 2 year federal incarceration upon conviction

8 8 General Prevention Ideas Treat your mail very carefully –Contact the USPS to request a vacation hold (3-30 days, & free of charge) Never place outgoing mail in personal mailbox with flag up –Red flag on mailbox = green light for ID thieves!!! –Deposit at local post office or USPS collection box Consider purchasing a locking mailbox Immediately follow up with creditors, banks, etc. if you dont receive your monthly statements as scheduled

9 9 General Prevention Ideas Consider eliminating paper credit card and bank statements and converting to E-Statements and online bill payment –Minimizes possibility of stolen mail –Minimizes need to shred sensitive documents Visit your bank's, credit card issuer's or creditor's web site(s) frequently to monitor regular account activity

10 10 General Prevention Ideas Treat your trash very carefully –One Mans Trash is Another Mans Treasure –Purchase a confetti-cut shredder Destroy all sensitive information, including convenience checks and pre-approved credit offers from credit card cos, insurance information, monthly statements, etc.

11 11 General Prevention Ideas Clean Out Your Glove Compartment – Avoid the mobile filing cabinet – (i.e. old bills, credit card receipts, etc). If you left your car unlocked and someone got inside, how much personal information about you could they discover? Beware of Pretext Phone Calls (both individual and business) The easiest way for a thief to steal your identity is to simply ask you for it. An Identity Thief may call you on the telephone, posing as your bank, your insurance company, or your doctor's office. Before you know it, he/she has obtained key pieces of personal information from you.

12 12 General Prevention Ideas Make your information less accessible to identity thieves by doing the following: -Remove your name from the pre-approved credit card lists of the 3 credit bureaus (EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN, AND TRANSUNION) by taking advantage of their OPT-OUT service -Call OPTOUT [(888) ], which reaches all 3 major credit bureaus

13 13 General Prevention Ideas Make your information less accessible to identity thieves by doing the following: –Remove your name from commercial marketing databases by contacting: DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION MAIL PREFERENCE SERVICE, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY

14 14 General Prevention Ideas Make your information less accessible to identity thieves by doing the following: –Remove your name from commercial marketing databases by registering your telephone number with the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY: or –Small business owners – awareness training issue

15 15 General Prevention Ideas Do not sign up for unfamiliar contests or sweepstakes. Information you provide could be sold and reproduced hundreds of times. Only list your name and number, without your address, in your telephone book. You may also consider having your number unpublished, or listed in your (spouses) maiden name.

16 16 Prevention re: Credit Cards Examine your credit card statements like an obsessed accountant!!! Be familiar with credit card statement closing dates Reconcile account at least monthly Have picture placed on back of credit card, if available Print PHOTO ID REQUIRED or SEE MY ID in signature block instead of signing –Still not effective with some merchants due to automation (i.e. self check-out, card readers)

17 17 Prevention re: Credit Cards Request, via telephone and/or in writing, that each of your credit card companies remove your name from any marketing and promotional lists that they may sell or share with other companies If any of your credit card companies send unsolicited convenience checks to you, request that you be removed from their mailing list for these checks

18 18 Prevention re: Credit Cards Destroy (cut up) expired or closed account credit cards before throwing away Only include the last 4 digits of your credit card account number on the memo line of your monthly payment check Carry only the credit cards you need (1 or 2 max)

19 19 Prevention re: Bank Accts Be familiar with checking/savings account statement closing dates Reconcile account at least monthly, reviewing all cancelled checks, other debits to account Have picture placed on back of debit/ATM card, if available Print PHOTO ID REQUIRED or SEE MY ID in signature block instead of signing

20 20 Prevention re: Bank Accts Only include name at top of checks –Never include SSN, DOB, telephone # –Merchant may ask for drivers license to note other personal identifiers, including address Refuse to add (especially SSN) if requested by merchants - they will back down before refusing sale Always arrange to have new checkbooks mailed to local bank branch versus home mailbox –Boxes of new checks obvious to identity thieves

21 21 Prevention re: Bank Accts Shield your hand when entering your ATM password. Someone may be watching with binoculars or a telephoto lens Never keep your ATM password in your wallet or purse - memorize it

22 22 Prevention re: SSN Protect your Social Security number –Should have a new VA drivers license containing a T number versus your SSN (VA law as of 7/1/02) –Never carry documents containing your SSN (Medicare cards unfortunately still contain SSN) –Never give your SSN to anyone by telephone, unless you initiated the call to a known entity –Avoid having your SSN used for IDs at work if possible –Question merchants who request your SSN If they insist, may want to take your business elsewhere

23 23 Prevention re: Internet Avoid being hooked by Phishing scams –What is phishing? "Phishing" is a term coined by computer hackers, who use to fish the Internet hoping to hook you into giving them your logins, passwords and/or credit card information –Do not reply to or pop-up messages that ask for personal identifying information Do not click on links within messages either When in doubt, contact financial institution directly via known website address or known telephone # Only conduct personal business on secure websites – –Also check for secure area padlock icon

24 24 Prevention re: Internet Maintain up-to-date anti-virus, firewall, and spyware software –Old saying… YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR… Buyer beware when purchasing items via online auction sites –Use secure payment systems, or credit card (for dispute protection) Never purchase with money orders or cash Consider maintaining one credit card earmarked for internet purchases only Use a dummy account –Free accounts are available If it gets bombed with spam, you can drop it and start over Reserve your primary for family & friends

25 25 Prevention re: Internet If your small business operates an e-commerce site, use high encryption Change your login IDs and passwords –Many sites utilize your SSN or a/c # as a login ID default Don't Set Your System to "Remember My Password –Avoid the temptation…only saves you a few seconds, but could cost you dearly, especially in event of stolen laptop Remember Passwords - Don't Write Them Down –Passwords are hard to remember, and most of us are guilty of writing them down, and taping them to the underside of keyboards or under the mouse pad or carry them in a laptop case, or put them in a wallet or purse. Thieves know this, and these are the first places they look.

26 26 Prevention re: Internet Avoid using common computers for sensitive personal business –Online bill payment, checking investment accts., etc. on internet cafés while at work, on vacation, business trips, or in public libraries If you must, be sure to clean up after yourself –Delete cookies, delete files, and clear history before leaving computer

27 27 Prevention re: Internet Internet Explorer… Tools -> Options

28 28 Action Steps for ID Theft Victims

29 29 Action Steps For Identity Theft Victims Contact all creditors and financial institutions to inform them of the fraud, and cancel cards and accounts –If your checks are stolen or have been counterfeited, contact the major check verification companies to notify retailers not to accept checks from your compromised a/c: TeleCheck:

30 30 Action Steps For Identity Theft Victims Call each of the 3 major credit bureau fraud units to report the identity theft, and add a fraud alert statement to your credit file: –Equifax: –Experian: –TransUnion:

31 31 Action Steps For Identity Theft Victims Contact law enforcement immediately, and maintain copy of police report –Local Police, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Social Security Admin., FBI, and/or USSS File a complaint with the FTC –, or 877-ID-THEFT Keep detailed notes of all conversations!!! –Names, dates, times, discussion points, etc.

32 32 Resources Websites with helpful Identity Theft Information: –Richmond ID Theft Task Force - –Federal Trade Commission – –Internet Fraud Complaint Center – –Frank Abagnale – –Better Business Bureau – –U.S. Postal Inspection Service – –FBI – –SSA/OIG –

33 33 Top 10 Immediate Action Steps 1.Go to and order your 1 st credit history. Set yourself a reminder to repeat every 4 months (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) 2.Go to to place your telephone numbers (home and cellular) on national do not call 3.Go to to opt out of pre-approved credit card offers for yourself and 4.Go to to manage (reduce/eliminate) direct mail offers (catalog, magazine, and other merchant offers) 5.Go to to place a 90 day fraud alert tag on your credit 6.Call each of your credit card companies (# on back of card) and tell them to stop mailing convenience checks to you. 7.Purchase a confetti-cut shredder, and use it regularly. 8.Review/reconcile your bank and credit card statements. 9.Avoid sweepstakes and other sign-up offers. 10.Photocopy and/or compile detailed list of all purse/wallet contents.

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