Keeping Safe from Identity Theft
In the digital age, small bits of information can provide criminals with everything needed to steal one’s identity. That is why the House approved H.R. 624, the Social Security Fraud Prevention Act, this week.
As you may or may not know, social security numbers are how the federal government is able to uniquely identify you and me. These numbers are also required to conduct many financial transactions in the United States – opening a credit card, a checking account, applying for a mortgage, and applying for a car loan are just a few examples.
Since your social security number is so important to your everyday life, it is important that your number is secure and safeguarded from criminals who could wreck your financial security. The Social Security Fraud Prevention Act will stop the federal government from printing your social security on documents, a simple but common sense way to protect you from fraud.
While we are trying to get the government to do its part to protect you from criminals, I suggest you take a few simple steps to protect yourself, as well.
- Instead of depositing old documents in the trash, shred anything that may contain important or identifiable information such as your social security number, bank account numbers, etc. This ensures criminals cannot obtain this information.
- Consider using a post office box to securely receive your mail. This eliminates a criminal’s ability to steal your mail and deliveries.
- Never share your private information over email, Facebook, or other similar methods. Banks and other organizations will never ask for your personal information by email. If you receive such a request, contact your bank immediately. More than likely, a criminal is trying to obtain your information through fraudulent means.