David Lerner Associates: How can I defend myself from identity theft?
The possibility that someone will assume your identification to open fraudulent bank or credit accounts is raising as thieves become more sophisticated. The most effective way to protect yourself is to try to prevent this from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:
- Make a list of all your credit cards, even those you don't bring in your wallet. Include account numbers and the names and emergency phone numbers of each issuer. Store this in a protected place that's quickly accessible to you. Don't keep it in your wallet!
- If possible, don't let your credit card out of your sight when you use it to pay for a store or restaurant purchase.
- Don't carry your birth certificate or Social Security card in your wallet.
- Install a locked mailbox to prevent mail theft. Call your credit card company or bank right away if your statement doesn't show up on time.
- When dining out, keep your purse or wallet secure. Leaving it on the table when you go to the salad bar is a no-no.
- Use drive-through ATMs if possible. If you can't, use ATMs inside stores or in well-lit, well-trafficked areas. Never let anyone see you type in your personal identification number, and don't write it on your ATM card.
- Shred preapproved credit card or loan applications, and those checks your credit card company mails you, before you throw them in the trash.
- Check your bank statements when you receive them, and order a copy of your credit report at least once a year. Check it over for signs of fraudulent activity.
- If you live in a state that uses Social Security numbers on your driver's license, ask for a randomly assigned number.
- Don't give out your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number to anyone who calls you. Give them out only when you have initiated the call.
- If you are concerned about a potential scam, call the local police.
If your wallet or personal identification is taken, don't wait. Reduce potential damages by contacting the police and other parties such as your credit card companies, your bank, and the three major credit bureaus (Experian -LRB-888-RRB- 397-3742, Equifax -LRB-800-RRB- 685-1111, and Trans Union -LRB-800-RRB- 680-7289). Talk to each credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit report to alert creditors that your financial information is or may be compromised.
Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we can not assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
Some of this material has been provided by Broadridge Investor Communications Solutions, Inc.
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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 1-800-367-3000 Visit our website: http://www.davidlerner.com