HOW TO AVOID IDENTITY THEFT
An issue that is important for all clients, regardless of they type of case they have is protecting their identity. Attorneys often receive personal information including financial information from clients in the course of their representation. This information is carefully guarded by lawyers and remains secure.
The biggest identity theft threat is from criminals that make a living by stealing personal information from innocent victims. Here are some tips on avoiding the theft of your identity:
1. Protect your Social Security Number: Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. When asked for your Social Security number, find out why it is needed and how it is kept confidential. Do not print your Social Security number on your checks.
2. Protect Financial Information: Review monthly credit card statements for unusual charges. Use automatic deposit whenever possible. It is illegal for stores to print receipts with your full credit card number; destroy the receipts and report the store to the Attorney General’s office if this happens to you.
3. Protect Passwords: Do not carry PIN numbers in your wallet or purse. Do not share your PINs with others. Do not use easy to guess passwords like family member names, birthdays, phone numbers, etc…Choose a different PIN for each account.
4. Protect Your Mail: Call 1-888-5OPT-OUT to stop pre-approved credit card bills from being mailed to you. Do not leave your mail sitting in your mailbox longer than necessary. Put outgoing payments in a locked postal service mailbox instead of your curbside mailbox. Avoid placing checks in the mail whenever possible. Use automatic draft or debits instead. You can cut down on junk mail by sending a letter with your first and last name, home address and signature to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.
5. Check Your Credit Report: You get one free credit report per year from each national credit reporting bureau. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to receive your free annual report. This site should not be confused with other for profit sites like wwww.freecreditreport.com.
6. Security Freezes: If you suspect credit theft or you simply do not anticipate needing credit in the future and want to freeze your information, visit www.noscamnc.gov to get instructions on freezing your information.
7. Prevent Email Fraud: Never send personal information, financial information or your Social Security number in response to an email. These emails are almost always attempts to steal your information. If you receive an email from your bank or another financial institution requesting information, call that company to confirm that they sent the email and that they need the information. Install virus and spyware programs on your computer to prevent theft of information directly from your computer. Try to use secure websites whenever possible when making online transactions. Secure websites can be identified by the lock icon in the lower right corner of your computer screen and the “https” tag at the beginning of the website address.
8. Telephone and Personal Scams: Nobody in Nigeria actually wants to give you money. Ignore these emails and phone calls. Never give out personal or financial information to people who call you. Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at (888) 382-1222. Double check references for charities, door to door sales and others that show up at your door. Look up the official information for the charity or company and call that number to verify their legitimacy before you give out any information or money.
You may not be able to ultimately prevent all forms of identity theft. But, if you follow the above steps, you will greatly reduce your changes of becoming a victim. You can learn more from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).
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