We’re hoping that by this time in the wide world of the Web that most consumers are taking steps to protect themselves from identity theft online, but hey, wait a minute! What about the good old-fashioned paper theft?
Shredder up, folks. NY1 talked to Eduard Goodman, the chief privacy officer for Identity Theft 911, and he says those environmentally friendly folks out there who recycle should be careful how they toss junk mail or documents with personal info on them. If you’ve got a shredder, use it. Or start ripping, especially things like unwanted credit card offers.
“Sometimes those are just as ripe. They’re already made out, most of the information is already in there and all you need is a little extra info as a fraudster to fill it out and get a credit card,” says Goodman.
It’s also a good idea to shred bills from the doctor or documents outlining medical benefits, to prevent others from using your insurance. If you lose your wallet, call your insurer and let them know. Keep that kind of important information along with your Social Security card somewhere safe in your home, in case of burglary.
“Leaving a building with a file folder with documents in it is a lot more innocuous if a third party sees them than if they’re walking out of an apartment holding a TV or a DVD player. And the long-term payoff is a lot more,” says Goodman.
Other tips include not doing online banking at a public Wi-Fi spot and password protect your phone. It also could be a good idea to invest in a remote scrubbing program in case you lose your phone.