This Saturday, April 16th, many Better Business Bureau’s across the nation will participate in bi-annual FREE paper shredding events. Each year the BBB hosts two free paper shredding events to help consumers protect their identity and provide helpful information to avoid identity theft.
Identity theft is forever changing and last year alone, 8.1 million Americans became victims of ID theft, resulting in the loss of $37 billion, according to a 2011 report from Javelin Strategy and Research.
Your BBB provides the following tips to prevent identity theft:
- Carry only the credit cards you actually need. Do not carry your Social Security card unless you need it.
- Never put your account information on the outside of an envelope or on a postcard.
- Cut up old or expired credit cards. Close all inactive credit card and bank accounts.
- For your ATM card, choose a Personal Identification Number (PIN) different from your address, telephone number, middle name, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your birth date or any other information that could be easily discovered by thieves.
- Memorize your PIN; do not write it on your ATM card or keep it written on a piece of paper somewhere in your wallet.
- Keep personal information in a safe place. If you employ outside help or are having service work done in your home, keep your personal information out of sight.
- Give your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use another type of identifying number whenever possible.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated contact or know the business with which you are dealing.
- Compare your ATM receipts and cashed checks with your periodic bank statements to check for unauthorized transfers or charges.
- Shred credit card statements, bank statements and pre-approved credit offers when you do not need them. Consider investing in a paper shredder.
- Decrease the number of unsolicited credit card applications that you receive. The fewer credit card applications you receive, the less likely it is that one will be stolen. Call (888) 5OPT-OUT to have your name removed from the marketing lists sold by the major credit bureaus for two years, or removed permanently.
- Order a copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com at least once every year to review your file for possible fraud.
If you feel you’ve been a victim of identity theft:
- IMMEDIATELY contact your local police department to report the identity theft.
- IMMEDIATELY contact any one of the three major credit reporting agencies.
- IMMEDIATELY notify any credit grantor if you suspect fraudulent activity on one of your existing accounts and contact any credit grantor if you suspect the account was fraudulently opened.
- IMMEDIATELY complete an ID Theft Affidavit.
Come out this Saturday and help prevent identity theft by shredding your personal documents for FREE! Your BBB will be at the Westmoreland Cleanways Parking Lot, located at 226 Donohoe Road, Greensburg, PA 15601. For more information about our event, click here.