South Florida Hospital News
Wednesday November 20, 2019
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October 2010 - Volume 7 - Issue 4

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10 Steps To Take To Avoid Personal Identity Theft

This is one of a series of Technology Tools ™ formulated by the Institute for Business Communications and Technology Excellence (IBCTE), a not-for-profit association of forward thinkers in the technology industry, publishing studies and reports that help business owners hone in on what they need to know to get the most out of their technology spending.

1. When purchasing on the internet, or over the phone, use a “virtual” credit card number. Most credit card issuers will issue these one-time use numbers with a short expiration date, to use for online purchases. These numbers can be retrieved through your online account access or by calling the 800 number on your credit card. The transactions show up on your regular statement, and are free. That way, your credit card number is not floating around.
 
2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'photo ID require.'
 
3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, do not put the complete account number on the 'Memo' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check in the check processing channels won't have access to it.
 
4. Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address or none at all.
 
5. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary. If you have it printed, anyone can get it.
 
6. If you use online banking, do not use the same account login and password for all secure banking transactions. Vary your passwords – it makes it harder to hack.
 
7. Monitor your bank accounts online. In your Outlook calendar, schedule a repeating task, once a week, to go online, and make sure you recognize all transactions.
 
8. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Put today’s date on the copies, and keep the photocopy in a safe place. Scan it and make sure it is available to you electronically. If you lose your wallet, cancel your credit cards immediately—keep the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy, where you can find them.
 
9. Encrypt data on your laptop. Confidential information is often kept unprotected on the laptops which are stole or lost. Encrypting such data will not allow anyone to get it even when the machine was stolen. Encrypt your jump drives as well.
 
10. If you work remotely from home, work through a Virtual Private Network (VPN), not an open connection on the internet.
 
What to do when your identity has been stolen or compromised
File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent. This is a first step toward an investigation (if there is one).
 
But here's what is perhaps most important of all ….
 
Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. The numbers are below – keep a copy of this in your wallet, and one in your desk.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
- Trans Union: 1-800-680 7289
- Social Security (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
For more information, call Palindrome Consulting, Inc. at (305) 944-7300 or visit palindromeconsulting.com.
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