Identity protection is a year-round event

The annual document-shredding event held at ITD to protect identity and personal information took place April 18. It is held each year on the Saturday following Tax Day.

Although Saturday has passed, protecting your identity is a year-round endeavor, and the importance grows with every headline that discusses a breach in that security. Credit card statements, tax return documents, financial documents, legal notifications — all can be used against you with devastating results, to your security and your family’s security, in the hands of the wrong person.

The Better Business Bureau encourages consumers to protect their identities by shredding sensitive documents that are no longer needed.

Here are some safety tips from the BBB:

Identity theft reports are on the rise; it is important for consumers to take precautions to secure personal information.

Social Security Number (SSN): Be careful about sharing your SSN. Ask why your number is needed, how it will be used and what will happen if you refuse. Do not carry your Social Security card with you on a daily basis. Leave it at home in a secure location.

Passwords: Always select a unique password; avoid using your name, birth date, or the last four digits of your SSN, or any easy sequence of numbers – such as 1122. Do not carry these numbers in your wallet, purse, cell phone or PDA.

Mailbox: Place outgoing mail in a secure mailbox. If you do not have a locked mailbox, pick up incoming mail as soon as possible.

Storage: Never store your private documents in unsecured locations, such as your car or office. At home, invest in a fireproof lock box or safe to store important documents.

Shred Documents: Avoid storing documents that contain personal information you no longer need including: credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms, and other billing statements. Shred all unnecessary documents that contain personal information; garbage cans are goldmines for identity thieves.

Receipts and Bank Statements: Monitor bank and credit card statements for fraudulent activity. Know what dates your bills arrive. Late or missing bills can indicate your information has been compromised.

Credit and Debit Cards: Sign and write “check photo ID” on new credit cards as soon as you receive them. Do not carry more than needed. Cut up expired credit and debit cards. Report lost, missing and stolen cards to the issuer immediately.

Credit Report: Check your credit report annually. Under the Fair & Accurate Credit Transaction Act, consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report. The only authorized source is (1-877-322-8228).


Published 04-17-15