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Strategies For Protecting Your Identity

Aug 4, 2008
There's only one of you. Your unique DNA make-up supports that fact. While individuals may be protected against liability for unauthorized accounts or transactions under federal and state law and by financial industry practices, it is still important to enlist simple steps to protect one's identity, consumer reputation and credit rating.

In the course of just one day, a person may write a check at the grocery store, order sports tickets online, and pay a bill with online banking. The following strategies, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), should be followed to protect one's identity in an effort to keep financial activities safe and secure:

Protect your Social Security number (SSN), credit card or debit card numbers, PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and other personal information. Never provide that information in response to an unsolicited phone call, in a fax, letter, or email.

Protect your incoming and outgoing mail. For incoming mail, try to promptly remove mail delivered to a mailbox or use a P.O. box. When ordering new checks, consider requesting that they be sent to your bank branch instead of having them delivered to your home. Outgoing mail containing personal information should be deposited in a U.S. Postal blue collection box or handed to the mail carrier.

Keep financial trash "clean." Give special attention to pieces of paper containing personal information. These include insurance information, blank checks with offers to "write yourself a loan," canceled checks, and bank statements. Utilize a "crosscut" shredder on any of these items.

Keep a watch over your bank account statements and credit card bills. Contact your financial institution if there's a discrepancy in your records. If your bank statement or credit card bill doesn't arrive on time, ensure that these institutions still have your correct mailing information on file. It's important to ensure that your mailing address is correct.

Protect your financial and online banking transactions with unique passwords. Never provide bank account or other personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail.

Exercise your rights under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) to review your credit record and report fraudulent activity. A credit report summarizes your history of paying debts and other bills. Credit reports are used by lenders, employees and others who, by law, have a legitimate need for the information. FACTA allows consumers to get one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. After receiving a credit report, look for warning signs of actual or potential ID theft. These include mention of a credit card, loan or lease you never signed up for, and requests for a copy of your credit record someone you don't recognize.

Finally, just within the last several years, the Internet has emerged as a highly convenient way to conduct banking business, as well as shop for financial services. As the use of the Internet continues to expand, more banks are using the web to offer products and services or enhance its communication with existing customers. Online banking and online bill pay offer great avenues for those who want to take advantage of today's technology to save time and enjoy timely resources to information. Whether selecting a traditional bank or an online bank with no physical office, users should make sure a bank is legitimate and that deposits are federally insured.
About the Author
AmericanMomentumBank.com provides a wide array of personal banking and business banking options and banking solutions tailored to your individual needs. For more information, please visit AmericanMomentumBank.com.
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