By Andrew Lucht
Army Community Service Consumer Affairs
This is the first in a three part series on avoiding identity theft. There are the three ways to avoid identity theft; deter, detect and defend. This article will discuss ways to deter identity theft.
Deter identity theft by safeguarding your information. Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them. Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on your check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier
Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with. Safeguard your military ID. Keep it with you or locked up at all times. Never lend your credit cards or account information to anyone else.
Do not click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead type in a web address you know. Use firewall, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer, and keep them up to date. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Keep your personal information in a secure place, especially if you live in barracks or with roommates and don’t let mail pile up unattended if you can’t collect it. Use a mail stop or P.O. Box, or have someone you trust hold your mail while you are away.
Next month’s article will discuss ways to detect if you are a victim of identity theft.
For more information on identity theft visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft
For more information or assistance please contact Andrew Lucht, Accredited Financial Counselor at 678-1337.