Monday, December 26, 2011

Inexpensive, Effective Tips for Protecting Your Identity (Part 2)

Given that this is Part 2 to my December 12 post, you might want to read that one first – if you haven’t done so already.

I’ll be the first to admit that some of these tips might sound like we should be walking on pins and needles. Remember, though, that identity thieves are growing increasingly sophisticated in the schemes they use to snatch people’s information, so it behooves you to leave absolutely no stone unturned. Better armed than sorry.
Tip #6: One thing you need to bear in mind is that wireless networks in public areas like restaurants, coffeehouses, airports, and hotels most often have very low security settings – because the idea is to allow easy and/or free access. This, however, increases the possibility of someone intercepting your information.

 Tip #7: Always access your financial accounts from your very own computer because “public” computers may contain software that captures logon information, which could wind up in the hands of identity thieves. Of course, not everyone owns a computer, so if you must use another computer, please, be sure to completely delete all history of your use when you finish.

If possible, your passwords should combine letters, symbols, and numbers. It’s a great idea to mix upper and lower cases when composing your passwords. Make it a point to change your passwords on a regular basis – experts suggest doing this every 90 days or so. And desist from using the same password for multiple accounts. I know this is very tempting, but it’s a very dangerous habit. One last thing: Do not store your passwords on your computer or smartphone because should you ever lose it, you don’t know who might gain access to it.

Tip #8: Be sure to “logout” at the end of all your web sessions that involve your personal information. As it turns out, your access does not necessarily terminate by simply hitting the little “x” to close a browser or moving on to a new website.

Before you download anything, be sure you are fully aware of exactly what you are downloading. In this day and age when the face of this crime is getting more and more sophisticated, I’d strongly advise that you surf only those sites you know and trust and do your very best to avoid clicking on pop-up windows, no matter how tempting they may seem.

Let me mention here that, these tips are of course, not a guarantee that you won’t or cannot become a victim. But I believe they will go a mighty long way toward helping you  keep your information secure.

What to Do When You Discover Your Identity Has Been Stolen

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three national credit reporting bureaus. Call Equifax at (800-525-6285), Experian (888-397-3742), or TransUnion ( 800-680-7289). You need to contact only one of these credit bureaus, as whichever one you contact is required to notify the other two.
  • Close accounts you know or believe may have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
  • Notify your local police department and get an “Identity Theft Report.”
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft hotline at 877-438-4338 or by visiting their website
Contact a financial professional at Laser Financial Group for a complimentary consultation to craft a personal plan that works for you. 877.656.9111 or

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