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Preventing Identity Theft 101

Yahoo! Finance recently wrote a great article about your debit/credit card PIN number. This article gives percentages of the most/least common PIN numbers...although the least common PIN is probably moving up in the ranks from people reading the article and realizing their PIN number was among the most frequently used! ;)

A lot of people seem to have the "it will never happen to me" mentality when it comes to getting your purse or wallet stolen or somebody hacking into your online bank account. If you read our blog "let's go phishing" you can take a short quiz testing your ability to spot a legitimate website vs. a phishing website trying to steal personal information.

That post also has some great information from Microsoft about phishing and other scams that anyone who uses the Internet should know as a precaution for identity theft.

Here are some other tips that can help prevent identity theft:

  • When choosing a password, use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (19ScCuRock$31) to make it nearly impossible for hackers to guess your password and access personal and confidential information
  • Stay away from password and PIN numbers that contains information that can be accessible via social media or public profiles of any kind. (Example: your husbands name, your dogs name, the street you live on, the year you were born, etc.)
  • If you do keep your password written down, make sure they are kept safe in a lock box or somewhere not easily accessible. One of the biggest mistakes people make is storing all their password in a word document on their computer. That makes it a one-stop-shop for access to all your personal information
  • Don't allow Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. to store your passwords for you
  • Do not sign the back of your debit/credit cards. Instead put "See ID" so that merchants can verify it is really you making the purchase

Identity theft is a very serious thing that can lead to huge headaches. If your purse or wallet does in fact get stolen or you lose it, it is a good idea to keep a photo copy of all the items in your purse or wallet on and keep it in a lock box, that way you know which items you were carrying and wont leave any out when you are calling to report or cancel those cards.