YOUR Information First
December 2006 / issue #3

In this issue:

Tip Of The Month
Feature Article
Latest ID Theft News
Scam Central
More Resources

PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY - TIP OF THE MONTH

Protect Your Information During The Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for thieves looking to take advantage of your giving spirit by taking what is most important to you- your personal information. 

Once they have your credit card number, social security number or other identifying information, thieves can have a merry time opening new accounts, draining your accounts or committing other types of fraud in your name. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself this holiday season:

  • Keep your purse closed and close to your body (for women)
  • Keep your wallet in your front pants pocket and be alert of who’s around you (for men)
  • When withdrawing money from the ATM, use your body as a shield
  • Only use ATMs that are well lit and secure and check the machine for foreign card readers
  • Store or shred your sales receipts and don’t leave them stapled to your bags
  • Before shopping online, install reliable virus and anti-spyware protection
  • When donating to charity, never give out personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call

FEATURE ARTICLE 

A Resolution You'll Want To Keep
By Mark Pribish

If you’re like me, then you know how the end of each year brings out the best intentions in all of us. Every year, I take inventory of the past 12 months, plan how I’m going to better my life and then charge forward with some ironclad New Year’s resolutions. No matter how hard I try, however, a few of my resolutions from last year always seem to end up on this year’s list.

For most of us, New Year’s resolutions focus on one or all of the following: personal relationships, physical fitness, professional development and/or personal finances. As I’ve learned over the years, it’s important to determine which changes you would like to make first and then prioritize the others so that you can have the best chance for success in 2007. Trying to act on all our new goals at once only leaves us overwhelmed and wondering what could have been at the end of the year.

If improving your personal finances in 2007 is on your resolution list, then it’s time to educate yourself about one the fastest growing crimes today- identity theft. Why? If someone uses your or your family member’s confidential, personal information to commit fraud or other crimes, it can ruin your financial well-being, not to mention your entire year.

Even if you believe your and your family's risk to identity theft is limited, it is important to know that the security of your personal information is not entirely in your hands.  Read More...

 SCAM CENTRAL - "The E-Card Scam"

How It Works:

Over the holidays, you may receive more online greeting cards (e-cards) in your mailbox than usual. Instead of containing a happy holiday greeting from a friend or relative, however, some e-cards may actually be the delivery system for computer viruses and spyware. Thieves have devised a scam that looks like an actual email greeting with a message like "I sent you a greeting. Please pick it up by clicking the following link." The recipient is then directed a phony Web site where they are asked to download a file to view the e-card. Instead of getting the e-card, they end up downloading a virus or spyware, enabling an attacker to gain access to their computer or snare confidential information.

To protect yourself, be sure to manually enter in URLs instead of clicking on them, or cut-and-paste them to avoid common misdirection play. Always avoid downloading and then double-clicking on anything just to be safe.  

How To Identify A Phony E-Card:

  • Spelling mistakes (e.g., "Congratulation!", or a misspelling of your name).
  • Errors in the message (e.g., the message says you sent a card instead of receiving one).
  • The sender isn't someone you know.
  • The sender has a bogus name (Joe Cool, Agatha Tragonawar, Card Sender, Secret Admirer, etc.).
  • The URL appears odd (e.g., www.http:// instead of http://www).
 

MORE RESOURCES

Video: Delivering Justice
Are you at risk? Take our ID theft quiz
Tips about avoiding identity theft

Don't Wait! 

If you believe you are a victim of ID theft or if your identity has been compromised, call a professional Recovery Advocate today

1.866.Smart68 (1.866.762.7868)


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