Your medical records contain your entire family history as well as your personal contact information. It details your relationships (husband, wife, children, etc.), your sexual behavior, any illnesses, diagnosis, treatments, prescriptions, you name it! Unfortunately even these records aren’t that difficult for a savvy criminal to obtain, especially since medical providers now keep their patient records digitally. You can keep an eye on your records by visiting the Medical Information Bureau’s web site at www.mib.com or by calling them at 1-866-692-6901.
Also, always keep an eye on your credit reports. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can obtain your free yearly report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Never assume that your credit report is accurate! Human beings enter the data into these reports and errors happen. You can also visit www.fdic.gov for more information on Consumer Protection.
Never write your full account numbers on your checks when you pay your bills, especially when paying credit card bills, just write in the last four digits of your account number.
When you need to dispose of bills or bank statements – never simply throw them in the trash! Criminals frequently “dumpster dive” for these documents. Shred everything. Everything! Credit card statements, bills, old debit or credit cards, bank statements, old pay stubs, anything of that nature. Cross-cut shredders are very inexpensive and can save you a lot of hassle.
Switch over to paperless billing and statements. Pretty much everyone now-a-days offers paperless statements… banks, credit cards, house-hold billing companies. Having them all delivered to your email inbox instead of your physical address saves paper, postage and also eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your mail.
Do not fill in any personal information that you do not absolutely have to when filling out documents. If the fill-in box states that it is optional – keep it to yourself. If you must fill in something, keep it as brief as possible. For example, don’t fill in your full legal name – use your initials. A lot of junk mail comes from people filling in all of their personal data when they really did not have to.
You can also include your name in the Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov) to cut down on the amount of telemarketers calling you. I suggest adding both your home telephone and cellular numbers to the registry.
Protecting yourself from victimization truly is in your hands. Making small changes in your life and keeping an eye on your assets, your information and your technology can keep you and your family from identity theft or other problems.
We hope we have enlightened and not frightened you. TeCHS serves all over Ventura County, California. If we can assist you in any way we can be reached by phone at (800) 669-2022 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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