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August 18, 2019

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What you need to know about identity theft

Here are some suggestions that spell out S C A M

This column provided by Faith Investment Services, Bluffton
419-358-4207
www.myfaithinvestments.com

Fans of “The Office” will appreciate this glimpse into identity theft.  

For most Americans, identity theft is a very real threat and definitely no joke.  The likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft increases in your 50’s – probably because you are reaching a pinnacle financially, before beginning the retirement years. 

What is identity theft?  Well, I went online, hoping to find some cute quotes from the mouths of children, describing what identity theft is.  I expected to find “identity theft is when someone calls you names and they’ve stolen your identity and you can’t get it back” or something like that.  A cute introduction to a serious topic.  Instead, I found page after page of information about ‘child identity theft.’:

How can you protect your identity – your collection of vital information that is used to create and maintain credit, set up accounts online, and verify your identity with government and business entities? 

Our website has a great article on identity theft  that makes the following suggestions:

S — Be stingy when it comes to giving out your personal information. Make sure the person requesting the information is on a “need-to-know” basis. For example, someone who claims to be calling from your bank does not need to know your mother’s maiden name if it’s already on file with the bank.

C — Check your financial information periodically. If you get hard-copy credit card or bank statements mailed to you, consider keeping these documents in a safe, secure location. Be skeptical if it appears the financial institution missed a month. Identity thieves may try to change the address on your accounts to keep their actions hidden from you for as long as possible.

A — From time to time, ask for a copy of your credit report. This report shows bank and financial accounts in your name and may help provide evidence if someone has used your name to open another account. To obtain a report, contact any of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or Transunion.

M — Maintain good records of your financial accounts and obligations. Experts recommend that you keep hard copies or electronic versions of monthly bank and credit card statements. Easy access to this information may make it easier to dispute a transaction, especially if your signature has been forged.

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