How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Secure your personal information in your home. Do not leave mail, checkbooks, credit cards, financial statements or bills out for anyone to see or steal.
When disposing of monthly credit card statements, bills and any other document which contains your personal information, shred them or burn them. Do not place them in the trash for someone to retrieve.
When you leave your house to go shopping take only the debit or credit card you will be using. Leave the rest at home and locked away.
Always obtain the receipt from any credit or debit card transaction. Keep these receipts in a secure locked place. It is important to note when you are the victim of identity theft, you may often feel as if you are being treated as the perpetrator. You will have to prove your whereabouts on the date and time such transaction took place. This can be an overwhelming task when the theft occurred weeks or months earlier.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of identity theft contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums today.
Pay attention to your regular monthly mail. Not only will perpetrators steal mail from your mailbox, often times they will establish new accounts by giving a change of address in your name. If you see a decrease in mail, check with your local post office to make sure no one has turned in a change of address in your name.
Sign up for a service which allows you to check your credit reports on a monthly basis. You will need to regularly monitor all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) to keep up with the information being reported to each of them.
Never give any personal information to anyone over the telephone unless you are absolutely sure you know who you are talking to. If someone calls claiming to be your bank or creditor, ask for their phone number and tell them you will return the call to verify you are talking to the correct party.
Never post any personal information online unless you are certain you know who you are dealing with. If you are paying for any item or service via the Internet, make sure those funds are being routed through your online bank account, Pay Pal or another reputable online transaction service.
Beware of a tactic known as “phishing” wherein someone sends you an email pretending to be some other entity, solely for the purpose of stealing your personal information. An example would be receiving an email from PayPal stating your account has been breached or you need to update your security information or change your password. The moment you log in to this false email, an internet hacker now has access to all your personal data.
Never open or respond to any emails concerning any personal information and never use the link provided in the email. You should always contact the source directly and independent of any email or link.
Carefully check each monthly credit card and banking statement you receive to make sure all of the charges are in fact yours.
Should you decide to purchase an identity theft insurance policy, research the provisions of the policy thoroughly and insist on reading the fine print. You want a policy which regularly monitors your accounts for you, not just one which kicks in only after the damage is done.
Even with all of these precautions, you can still become a victim of identity theft. If this happens, contact an attorney who is competent in handling identity theft cases and who can advise you of the best plan of action to restore your credit.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of identity theft contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums today. Our office is centrally located in Birmingham, Alabama, right next to the Jefferson Country courthouse. We have successfully represented clients in every county in Alabama and clients nationwide.