Don’t Be the Next Hacking or Identity Theft Victim

Identity Theft

Protecting your identity and credit should be a top priority for everyone. Identity thieves work hard to steal your personal information to commit fraud, so be careful and prepared to protect your security.

Recently big retailers have been hit by hackers including both Target and Neiman Marcus. At least 110 million consumers were affected by the hack and the numbers may rise as the investigations continue to unfold.

It’s important to prevent identity theft from occurring by managing your personal information carefully and staying one step ahead of the thieves. Take precautions and don’t become an identity theft victim!

CEO of Merritt Ventures, Inc, Scott A. Merritt has put together a list titled “7 Tips for Protecting Your Identity & Money.” Merritt knows first hand the troubles one must deal with because he was a victim of identity theft himself back in 2006.

Before you become an identity theft victim yourself, take the important steps now to prevent a financial disaster from happening down the road. Here are Merritt’s seven ways to guard against becoming an identity theft victim.

1) Secure your wallet’s information. Photocopy everything in your wallet: photos, credit cards (front and back), membership cards – everything. Put the copies in the order the cards are arranged in your wallet, staple the pictures and place them in a strong box or safe.

2) Understand how and where it happens. Identity theft is like being robbed when you are away from home; most thefts occur in places where you do business every day. Either a place of business is robbed, a bad employee acts improperly or a hacker breaches the office through the computer.

3) Protect your banking information. While in the bank, keep account numbers and other data out of sight, and avoid stating account numbers, Social Security numbers and similar information out loud. When planning a bank visit, have items such as deposits and withdrawal slips prepared in advance.

4) Account for your interactions with vendors. Every time you speak to someone with whom you do business, write down the time, date, name and the purpose or outcome of the call. If an identity theft occurs on the vendor’s end, you will be able to reference these prior conversations effectively. Be sure to note any animosity or reluctance from the vendor.

5) Secure your digital habits and data. Change your passwords at least twice a year on a non-scheduled basis – don’t be predictable. Have a strong firewall if you shop online, and only access sites that are protected by a strong firewall and high industry standards. Access accounts of a financial nature only from your personal computer.

6) Don’t carry around your birth certificate or Social Security card. Unless it’s necessary, keep those vital items in a safe, or at least a firebox. If you know someone is going to need a copy of your tax returns or your driver’s license, for example, make the copies ahead of time. This avoids the need for a firm’s employee to leave the room with such information.

7) Make sure your information is consistent. For all of your identity and financial documents, make absolutely sure, to the smallest detail, that all of your personal information is accurate and consistent! Discrepancies such as using your middle initial on some documents, and not others, or having different addresses, can wreck havoc in proving your identity, and can compromise your credit score.

If you feel you have become a hacking or identity theft victim, take immediate action. You can contact The Life of Luxury and we can help put you in touch with a professional who can help.

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