BBB offers simple steps for keeping your identity safe

ID-100217483Community invited to Shred Day events in Waco and Corpus Christi, April 26

Identity theft is a major problem in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 2013 Consumer Sentinel Network report showed that there were 290,056 complaints filed relating to identity theft. The number of victims reported in Texas totaled 23,266.

Fraudsters looking to steal your identity actively seek to gain access to your personal information, which means it’s important to discard personal documents carefully. According to the FTC, American consumers reported losing over $1.6 billion to fraud overall in 2013, according to the FTC’s annual report on consumer complaints.

Identity theft has many forms, from phishing to dumpster diving. But there are ways you can protect your identity. BBB offers these steps to keep your personal information safe:

  • Shred all sensitive documents. Shred all statements and applications you get in the mail that you don’t want to keep, including credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms, billing statements for utilities and phone service. Visit bbb.org to find a Shred Day location near you.
  • Protect your Social Security number, account numbers and passwords. Don’t carry these numbers in your wallet. Give out your Social Security number only if absolutely necessary and offer to provide another type of personal identifier, if possible.

  • Never give personal information over the phone or to unknown persons. Unless you are the one initiating the phone call, you should not give your Social Security number, driver’s license number or bank account information over the phone.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card transactions for unauthorized transactions. Crooks with your account number generally start with small transactions to see if you’ll notice.
  • Steer clear of suspicious texts, emails and links. Unsolicited e-mails and pop-up ads can be full of computer viruses designed to steal usernames and passwords from your computer. Don’t give in to curiosity. Close or delete the message.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. There is only one source authorized to give you one free annual credit file disclosure per year from each of the three consumer credit reporting companies. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to find out more.

Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin invites consumers and businesses to participate in its bi-annual Shred Day:

Corpus Christi

Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014

Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM

Address: KIII-TV Parking Lot

5002 S. Padre Island Drive

Corpus Christi, Texas 78411

Waco

Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014

Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM

Address: KWTX-TV Studios

4601 Bosque Blvd.

Waco, Texas 76710

Free shredding and electronic recycling services will be available until noon or until the shred trucks reach capacity, at these locations. Consumers can bring up to two boxes of sensitive documents per vehicle to be shred on-site. The program is a BBB-branded identity theft, fraud prevention and educational initiative. Monetary donations benefiting BBB’s Education Foundation will also be accepted.

For more details visit: http://go.bbb.org/1ncNE26

 

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