Scambuster Corner: Tips to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Barbara EJ Bennett, Chief Scambuster | Larimer County Sheriff’s Office

 

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft.

ID THEFT – 

If you see accounts you don’t recognize on your credit report, strange transactions on your credit card or bank card or the IRS lets you know they received more than one tax return from you — these are red flags that someone is using your ID!

Use all ID Theft protection recommendations to safeguard your identity.

  • Frequently change passwords
  • Opt-out of the pre-screened credit card offers Shred all documents/mail with any personal information on them.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly for any unauthorized activity (even a small amount).
  • Freeze your credit so your credit report is not available for others to see, no one can open an account in your name (including you), apply for a loan, or credit card in your name. 
  • Use 2-factor authentication for devices and accounts.
  • Before donating or discarding any device – wipe everything off.
  • Install anti-virus software.
  • If you are out of town, have your mail picked up daily rather than stacking up in your mailbox.
  • Annually check your credit report.  This credit report can give early signs that someone may have been using your identity.  A free copy is available at “annualcreditreport.com“.   Watch for new or unusual activity or even some negative information that surprises you.  Report these irregularities immediately.

Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert?

Credit freeze – identity thieves cannot open a new account in your name.  It prevents creditors from accessing your credit report which in turn stops the opening of an account.  You can lift the freeze when you need to.

Fraud Alert – this alerts a business to check with you before opening a new account in your name.  

Read more about scams at larimer.org/sheriff.

 

 

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