BBB Tips for “National Protect Your Identity Week”
Identity Theft Continues to Victimize Millions Every Year
Austin, TX - October 20, 2010 – BBB is encouraging consumers and business owners to fight identity theft by taking part in the third annual “National Protect Your Identity Week,” October 17-23, 2010. Throughout this week, BBB urges everyone to take advantage of the educational resources that are available to strengthen identity theft prevention at www.protectyouridnow.org.
According to a 2010 Javelin Strategy & Research report, there were 11 million reported victims of identity theft last year. The report also states that the most common methods of identity theft in 2009 were lost or stolen wallets, pilfered mail or documents found in the trash. Regardless of the theft method, the stolen information can result in check fraud, credit card fraud, financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, governmental identity theft or medical identity theft. The victims of these types of fraud in 2009 paid an average of $399 in efforts to restore their identities.
As part of the 2010 “National Protect Your Identity Week,” BBB offers consumers the following tips for preventing identity theft:
· Shred Your Documents – Shredding hard copies of documents that have details of your personal, confidential or legal information is the best way to destroy the chances for anyone to copy or steal it.
· Don’t Carry Your Social Security Card – Leave it at home in a safe deposit box until you need it. Your Social Security card alone can give ID thieves the opportunity to open loans, credit cards and accounts in your name.
· Photocopy Your Account Cards – Often if you lose your wallet or purse, you may not remember the numbers on your credit card, debit card or bank account. Keep a duplicate in case something happens and you need to know the identification numbers to freeze or close accounts.
· Never Give Personal Info to Solicitors – Unless you are the one initiating the conversation, you should not give your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, bank account information, etc. over the phone or internet to someone you don’t know.
· Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links – Unsolicited e-mails and pop-up ads can be full of computer viruses designed to steal usernames and passwords from your computer. Don’t give in to curiosity, just close or delete the message.
For more information about consumer protection or to check the reliability of a company, visit BBB.org.
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Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas at (512) 445-4748.