ID theft prevention tips offered by Maplewood Sauk Prairie comes from Secura Insurance Companies September 2014 article called 8 tips for preventing ID theft in a social world. Maplewood Health & Rehabilitation Center’s goal is to promote safe independent living.
8 tips for preventing ID theft in a social world
Immediate access to cell phones and GPS devices may provide a sense of security, but these technologies also feed identity thieves’ morsels of information they are eager to devour. With a few precautions, you can rely on electronic devices without being a victim of identity theft. Here is how:
- Do not respond to suspicious texts. Text messages that ask for personal information, like your social security number, debit card, PIN, or bank account number are virtually NEVER legitimate. Contact the sender by phone to verify the identity.
- Store contacts by first names. By listing contacts as Mom, Hubby, or Home, you are inviting a thief to contact them for personal information. Thieves can quickly text Hubby to find out, “What’s our bank PIN number again?” before he knows your phone was stolen.
- Delete sensitive data. If you plan to sell your phone, delete your personal data. If you are unsure how to delete your pictures, passwords or contacts, bring your phone to your network provider’s retail store and ask for assistance.
- Download ringtones from reputable sites. In order to capture personal data, identity thieves create phony sites that claim to offer ringtones and other downloads.
- Do not store your home address on your GPS. An identity thief – or burglar – who steals a GPS can find your home and feel comfortable knowing you won’t return if you store your schedule on the same device.
- Carry electronic devices separately. A cell phone, GPS and wallet make a great combination. If you carry all of them together – in a purse for example – you leave a thief with the needed information to steal your identity.
- Lock your phone. If your cell phone has a passcode or other type of security lock, use it – at least when you’re in a public place. Then if you do lose it, you’ll feel a little more secure.
- Do not share too much on social networking sites. A message on a social networking site stating that you will be on vacation for the next two weeks is an invitation to burglarize your unattended home and rummage through your mail and other personal information. Never list a full birth date. This is key information for an identity thief to use to set up false accounts.