20 May Identity Theft Prevention Tips
Identity theft can be a frightening situation and unfortunately, it can target just about anyone. So what do you do if you feel you may have had your identity stolen?
To minimize the potential negative outcomes, it’s critical that you act quickly. At American Security Shredding, we want to share with you some important steps to take to stop that identity thief from their pursuits.
This fraud alert will flag your account. This is so that any lenders or creditors know to take further action in confirming your identity prior to extending credit. It’s very easy to place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports and it’s free;
In fact, you only need to contact one of the three agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion). Then they will notify the others for you. You’ll have the ability to request a free copy of your credit report from each agency when you file a fraud alert.
So be sure to ask for this. If you find fraudulent items on your credit report(s). Then the simplest way to begin the dispute process is to click the dispute button. All while viewing your credit report online.
Identity Theft Prevention
An alternative solution that is usually more effective is to place a security freeze on each of your credit reports. A freeze will stop all creditors, minus those you are already doing business with, from getting ahold of your credit reports at all.
Any new applications will be immediately declined because without access to your file. Thats because the creditor won’t be able to review and analyze your credit. Unlike a fraud alert, you’ll need to reach out to each credit reporting agency to request a freeze on your files. You may learn more about credit freezes by visiting:
Notify All Institutions that May be Affected
If you have proof that your credit card was in fact stolen. Report this immediately to your credit card issuer. If on the other hand your checkbook or debit card was stolen. Then your bank needs to be notified.
To do this productively, it really helps to have information regarding your bank, account information, telephone numbers, etc. These should be already stored somewhere securely for quick reference. Obviously, don’t write this information down. As that’s only putting you at greater risk of more information theft. However we recommend keeping a list on an online file storage program that ensures data is encrypted.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Be sure to file an Identity theft confirmation report as well as a police report. You will need to create an Identity Theft Report, and you can easily file your report online for convenience. The FTC will tell you exactly what steps to take next. These will vary based on the degree of the case and what type of fraud has taken place.
File a Police Report
Finally, you’ll need to contact your local law enforcement office to complete your Identity Theft Report. Make sure you request a copy of the police report or the report number. This police report and the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit together form your official Identity Theft Report. This report will help you greatly when working with the credit reporting agencies. Furthermore or any other institution the thief may have contacted to open accounts under your name.
Keep Your Social Security Number Safe
It’s important to talk to the SSA and the IRS if you have reason to believe your Social Security number has been compromised. Even if you don’t yet see any evidence of financial fraud. A thief could be planning to swipe your tax refund or to obtain employment or health care in your name.
Always shred your sensitive documents before disposing of them. This is a critical step in preventing identity theft and one that is often overlooked. American Security Shredding wants to keep your identity safe this spring. Contact us to learn more about our document destruction solutions.Call 1-800-882-1979.
4 Telling Signs Your Identity Has Been Stolen
Identity thieves are sneakier and more sophisticated these days than ever. Even if you think you’ve taken the necessary steps in preventing identity theft. Furthermore you can never be too cautious. Below are 4 telling signs you’re your identity has been stolen:
1. Getting Refused for Credit
If you’ve been notified that an application for credit has been denied. This may very well mean there was theft involved, affecting your account. Should this take place, you may have been a victim of identity theft. Be sure to get in touch with your card issuer immediately. They will inform you whether or not this is what caused the problem.
2. Suspicious Credit Card Charges
Contrary to what you may think, it’s actually fairly easy to overlook a credit card charge that you yourself didn’t make. Keep track of your purchases by keeping all your receipts in one place; this will allow you to quickly match them to your statements each month.
3. Phone calls from Unfamiliar Creditors
If a creditor contacts you requesting payment for something you didn’t purchase, investigate who they are and why they are seeking such details; don’t just tell them they’ve made a mistake. Digging a little further will give you the tools needed to file a report if you are suspicious of fraud.
4. Missing Bills
Are your regular bills are suddenly no longer arriving. This may mean that an identity thief has changed your address in an effort to gain access to your bank accounts. Look through all your bills carefully and call any account where the bill is missing.
What should you do if your identity is compromised? Visit identitytheft.gov for tips and information.
Moving forward, if you aren’t currently taking advantage of document shredding services. Then turn to professional document destruction with American Security Shredding. We will secure you against information theft!
5 Ways to Stay Protected from Identity Theft Prevention Tips
Despite awareness, Organizations and residents within Manhattan and the rest of the United States, continue to be targeted by identity theft in some manner. While some cases are more minor than others, this growing crime can lead to severe consequences for everyone involved.
The great news is it can be entirely prevented with basic precautionary measures. Here are just a few steps your Manhattan business should be taking to protect itself from the risks of identity theft:
Keep Your Social Security Number Protected:
This is an important aspect in keeping your information secured at all times. Unless absolutely necessary, refrain from carrying your Social Security Number; this means keep it out of your wallet or out of your purse. Never offer up these details to anyone who contacts you through telephone or email. Unless they are certified to request it, and you trust the source.
Ensure Online Passwords Stay Secured:
Always verify that computer passwords are protected and unique in characters. Make an effort to create passwords that include a minimum of one upper case, one lower case, one numeral and one special character, like # or ?. Always take the initiative to password-protect your cell phone as well.
Assess Credit Reports on a Regular Basis:
Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request a credit report from each of the three key reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Review each one cautiously to check that all information is accurate and that there are no signs of suspicious activity. You can ask for one free report from each agency once a year.
If You Suspect Information Theft, Report it Immediately:
It is highly recommended that you visit your credit cards’ website to look over how each card is being used. Furthermor verifying that your finances are secure. You also have the option to set a notification for purchases that surpass a particular dollar figure. Any time your card is charged outside that amount, you’ll be informed by email or text. Most credit cards will offer this service at no charge, giving you an extra layer of protection at no additional cost.
Never Throw Sensitive Records in the Garbage – Always Shred them:
Thoroughly shred all documents that contain sensitive information, before throwing them away. Remember that office shredders fail to supply the same level of security as professional paper shredding services. Furthermore unless you have a particular employee who is responsible for this job on a regular basis, it can often be forgotten about all together. This poses a substantial security threat to your organization. Especially if documents wind up landing in the wrong hands as a result. You may be found legally accountable. The safest approach to effective document management for your business is turning to American Security Shredding in New York. If you are in the Manhattan area, contact American Security Shredding for a free no obligation quote.
Identity Theft Prevention Practices
Identity theft cases are continually on the rise nowadays. Every day there are reports of identity theft rings being infiltrated and new data breaches. Consequently putting hundreds of thousands of people in compromising situations. It has almost become a matter of when, rather than if, your identity will become compromised. The best way to stay safe? Be proactive and consider some of the following tips to ensure you are doing all that you can to keep your identity safe.
Check Your Credit Report
Every US citizen is entitled to one free credit report every year. When you get your credit report, verify that all of your information is correct and that there has been no suspicious activity, particularly any new accounts opened. For even better protection, consider signing up for a service that notifies you when changes occur on your credit report.
Secure Your Important Documents
Your social security card, passport, birth certificate and credit cards are highly sought-after materials for identity thieves because they command top dollar on the black market. Ensure that you store these documents in a secure area, preferably in a locked box or container, and not laying in plain sight. It is best that you do not regularly carry these documents with you. If you have to travel, pay special attention to keeping your passport secure by leaving it in your hotel room where it will be safe.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves utilizing email or online chat services. The perpetrator will pretend to represent a company, such as a bank, PayPal or another company and will attempt to solicit information from you or make you click on a link. The thief may even claim to represent a charity or giveaway. However it is best not to respond to such activity or click on any suspicious links. Remember that any credible organization will not attempt to contact you in this way.
Hire a Document Shredding Service to Securely Destroy Your Sensitive Information
Papers that have been improperly disposed of are fair game for dumpster divers to take. Improper document destruction practices could lead to your valuable information, such as bank reports, credit card statements or business documents, becoming compromised, putting you or your business at serious risk. Hiring a reputable paper shredding company such as American Security Shredding is the easiest way to make sure that your valuable information is not going to wind up in the hands of a thief.
American Paper Shredding Services
American Security Shredding will supply your business with lockable, secure document storage containers free of charge. These containers are to be used for the purpose of collecting sensitive documents and keeping them away from the wandering eyes of passersby. When these bins become full, we will send a driver to pick up your locked containers and bring them directly to our shredding truck.
The documents will then be shredded in minutes. Right before your eyes if you so wish, with the aid of our truck mounted cameras. After your documents are shredded, you will be provided with a Certificate of Destruction. Proving that you took the steps necessary to comply with information destruction laws.
Do You Know About The Red Flags Rule?
If you own or operate a business in New York you may know that there are many different pieces of legislation. These make an impact on your day to day operations and how you conduct business. Consequently keeping track of these rules can be a daunting and exhausting task.
When it comes to document shredding, American Security Shredding is on top of it all. Our teams of NAID certified professionals are trained, and as a member of NAID we are committed to keeping on top of US legislation. This does influence how any and all businesses in the United States dispose of their old records and documents.
Red Flags Rules
One of the more recent pieces of legislation that has come into effect is known as the Red Flags Rule. It was created by the Federal Trade Commission along with the National Credit Union Administration to work against identity theft. It was passed in January of 2008 and went into effect on November 1st, 2010. The rule applies to two different groups:
- Defined as any entity that holds a transaction account which belongs to a consumer. This may refer to banks, loan associations, credit unions etc.
- These are entities that continuously extend or renew credit, or arrange for others to do so, and include all entities which allow for deferred payments for goods or services.
The rule essentially sets out how businesses have to create and roll out a plan to prevent identity theft. The plan that these organizations role out must consist of four of these basic elements or more:
- Identify red flags
- Detect red flags
- Act to prevent the theft
- Update the program
The FTC has posted a how-to guide on their official websites for small businesses. Larger businesses require more complex systems and solutions than what this guide template provides.
For several companies, American Security Shredding has become a key component in their Red Flags Rule protocol. So one of the best actions businesses can make to lower their risk of identity theft and fraud is. Ensure that documents are destroyed before or upon the suspicion that information theft may have, or is at risk of occurring.
Our team of NAID certified technicians and experts are ready to help provide quality shredding services that will help your business keep in line with its Red Flags Rules.
Contact American Security Shredding to learn about the many options available to your business!