Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
Identity theft affects millions of people each year. Learn the risks and how you can protect your sensitive data from cyber-criminals.
Millions of Americans fall victim to identity theft each year—and their financial losses are in the billions. In 2012, an estimated 16.6 million Americans experienced identity theft, causing losses of $24.7 billion.1
What can you do to help reduce your chances of having your identity stolen? The steps below can help you prevent significant losses.
• Never divulge your credit card number or other personally identifying information over the Internet or telephone unless you initiate the communication.
• Reconcile your bank account monthly, and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.
• Actively monitor your online accounts to detect suspicious activity. Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, and the police as soon as you detect them.
• Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.
• If your identity has been assumed, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.
• If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.
Finally, be very wary of any email or text message expressing an urgent need for you to update your personal information, activate an account, or verify your identity. Practice similar caution with email attachments and downloadable files and keep your computers protected with the latest security updates and virus protection software.
1Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, December 2013.
If you’d like to learn more, please contact Irene F. Stolarz.
Article by Wealth Management Systems, Inc. and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor.
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