BBB Basics on Identity Theft Prevention
Jan 02, 2014 | 1770 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

BBB Basics on Identity Theft Prevention

With data breaches fresh on our minds, BBB reminds consumers of the following basic identity theft prevention tips. While companies are responding much more quickly to a data breach, identity theft continues to be a major concern.

Reports indicate that identity theft incidents increased by more than one million victims last year”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “We want to remind consumers that although identity theft continues to run rampant today, following some fundamental guidelines can greatly decrease your chances of becoming a victim.”

BBB provides the following basic tips to help prevent identity thieves from choosing you as a target:

  • Refrain from carrying a checkbook. Pay by cash or by credit card. Don’t pre-print your social security, driver’s license or your telephone number on your checks.

  • Sign up on the do-not-call list. 1-866-896-6225.

  • Carefully reconcile your monthly bank and credit card statements and look for discrepancies; report any issues immediately.

  • Opt out of pre-approved credit card offer lists by calling 1-888-567-8688.

  • Don’t carry your social security card with you.

  • Never let your credit card or debit card out of your sight.

  • Get a locking mailbox and/or mail outgoing bills from the post office.

  • Don’t give out any financial information to anyone unless you initiated the call or unless you have thoroughly checked out the organization before doing so.

  • Never look at account information or make purchases when on a wifi hotspot.

  • Use the most up to date firewall and antivirus software available.

  • Only purchase from secure sites: https, (the “s” is an indicator that the site is secure.

  • Change and strengthen your passwords. Make them as secure as possible by using a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers, and keep in mind that the longer your password is, the more difficult your password will be to “crack”. Remember to change your passwords every six months, and refrain from using the same password for every account.

  • Protecting your smartphone is just as important as protecting your computer. Using a password, keeping your phone updated, and refraining from storing personal information on your phone will help prevent an attack.

  • Shred anything that contains personally identifiable information. You would be surprised at how little an identity thief needs to compromise your identity.

Should you become a victim of a data breach and/or identity theft:

  • Contact your financial institutions and alert them of the breach.

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report with all three credit reporting agencies.

  • Monitor your credit report by going to You can check your report with each credit reporting agency once per year at no charge.

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to To report a fraud or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.


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