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Protect yourself against identity theft

Protect Against Identity Theft--2012 Top Safety Tips of the Year

As 2012 draws to a close, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office revisits five of the Top Safety Tips shared during the past 12 months.

1) Nurture a Healthy Identity Theft Mindset.

Know it can happen to you. Law enforcement takes calls from people who believed they couldn’t become a victim of identity theft. Their reasons: “I don’t use credit”; “I shred everything”; “I have bad credit”; “Everything’s in my spouse’s name”; and so on. The fact is anyone can become a victim and everyone needs to take steps to reduce their risk.

2) Help Yourself to Strong Passwords.

Avoid the simple, widely-used choices for passwords. “12345,”
“123456,” and “123456789” were the Top Three most common
passwords found when 32 million passwords exposed by a social network hack were analyzed. The other passwords in the list of the Top Ten were: “iloveyou,” “princess,” “rockyou,” “1234567,” “12345678,” and “abc123.”

3) The “Why” Behind the Tip.

Know when account statements arrive, and check them when
they are received. If a statement doesn’t arrive as usual, it may mean that someone has called the financial institution involved, posed as you, changed the address on the account, and requested a new card. Call your financial institution to inquire about any late statements; ask if changes to the account were made recently.

Reconcile bank and credit card statements monthly. Call the financial institution that issued the card if you do not receive the account statement when expected. If you find unauthorized charges, dispute them with the financial institution, not the merchant. You would call the merchant only if you are not sure whether or not you authorized the charge.


4) Take Steps to Secure Your Mobile Apps.

If your mobile device is lost or stolen, react quickly to minimize damage caused by unauthorized access to information on the device. Install a program that allows you to remotely wipe data from the device if it is lost or stolen.

5) Beware of IRS-Themed Scams.

Do not respond to e-mail messages that appear to be from the
Internal Revenue Service. The IRS does not send taxpayers unsolicited e-mails about their tax accounts nor does it request
detailed personal information through e-mail.

 

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