Have you or someone you know been a victim of Identity Theft? If so, then you most likely know and understand how difficult it is to not only protect yourself against these acts, but you also understand how damaging it can be to you financially. Identity theft can quickly ruin your credit and also make it difficult to get your identity back. What exactly is Identity Theft? As stated on the USA.gov website, Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or social security number, to commit fraud. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services.
At The Retirement Planning Group, we want to provide you with as much information as possible to help prevent this terrible crime from happening to our Clients. Unfortunately, it can happen without you being aware that a crime has taken place. Jeff Lanza, a retired FBI Special Agent, has put together some helpful tips that we would like to share that will hopefully not only raise awareness, but will also help protect you from being a victim. Our financial advisors are here to assist you and answer any questions that may arise. Here are my six takeaways from Jeff’s tips and research that I have done on Identity theft that are easy to apply.
1. Never, ever click on Social Media links through an email. You should always go directly to the site to login. Don’t trust an email that is asking you to do this.
2. Use different and strong passwords for all of your logins whether it be for your bank, computer or social media sites. Be sure to include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure to store these passwords in a safe, secure place.
3. If an email seems fishy, it’s most likely a scam. Scammers like to send emails that appear to be coming from a friend or family member. Always verify that it is a legit email by asking questions or calling the person and NEVER send money unless you have confirmed that it is legit.
4. Be sure and check your privacy settings and avoid having them set on “public” as private information such as phone numbers or addresses may be seen. This is especially important when it comes to social media and children. Children are extremely vulnerable to identity theft.
5. Check your computer security software and make sure it has the latest updates. It is easy to let this slide, but so very important as it protects against viruses and keeps your personal information secure.
6. Be cautious when it comes to handing out your personal information. Like I tell my children, go with your gut instinct. If something seems out of the ordinary do yourself a favor and take the extra steps to make sure it’s secure and legit. It could end up saving you a whole lot of time and money!
For further information on protecting yourself against Identity Theft, you can find Jeff Lanza’s information on our website planningretirements.com under the “Tips” tab or you can visit his website at www.thelanzagroup.com.