Hampton Roads Area Information
Identity Theft Prevention for Hampton Roads Seniors
Tips to Protecting Hampton Roads Homeowners from Identity Theft
Imagine waking up one day and your entire identity is being used by someone else all over town or even in another part of the world. You would most likely feel violated and wonder where to begin to get your own personal identity back. Not only do you lose your sense of uniqueness, but the person who stole your identity could be doing a great deal of damage to your life. Identity theft can affect not just you personally, but your job, future job applications, loan applications and more. As a real estate expert, I have seen what victims of identity theft have to go through to get loans after they have managed to get their life back.
How Can a Thief Get Personal Information?
Thieves are cunning and willing to do a lot of things to get to your identity. There are some basic precautions you can take to help protect yourself from these thieves, which include:
• Shred any mail with personal information on it before placing it in the trash because identity thieves will dig through your garbage to find things like pre-approved credit card forms, bills, old bank statements, etc…
• Remove your social security card and Medicare card from your wallet (your Medicare card has your social security number on it and only carry it when necessary)
• Never verify your account information online when you receive an email asking you to do so because your bank and credit card companies do not do business in this manner.
• Avoid giving personal information out over the phone or by texts when a caller requests it. It is someone impersonating a legitimate company to gain your personal information. Legitimate companies do not conduct business like this.
• If you receive a change of address notification and you haven’t requested it, contact the local post office as identity thieves may have so kindly filled them out for you.
• Only toss or give away an old computer after physically destroying the hard drive (some hackers can still get into it even though you think you’ve erased everything)
• Never click on “Remember Me” when the computer prompts it because hackers can gain access to you email, online bank account and more through that feature.
• If you use public WiFi, never access personal information or any site that requires your pin number or account numbers. In other words, don’t check you bank and credit card statements or pay your bills online when in public places, and if you do it at home, make sure it is password protected.
• Make photocopies of all cards in your wallet so if it is stolen you have all the numbers to call to cancel everything immediately.
• Always review your bills and financial statements to know if there are charges on them that you did not make.
• If you sign up for information online from a business or charitable organization, check them out and make sure they are who they say they are. Call the Better Business Bureau and ask questions. Or if you have a valid number for the business, call and see if they have in fact contacted you.
Stay Aware and Stay Safe in Hampton Roads
Even if you think you are completely safe from having your identity stolen, always be cautious because someday it could happen. Use the tips listed above and make yourself as safe as possible from identity thieves. The aging population is a great target for scammers, so instead of losing your retirement savings, take the time to protect yourself. Please contact me, Diana Rondinelli with any further questions.