Protect yourself from identity theft

Holidays crowds can cause distractions that may give thieves the chance they need to steal your idenitity.The holiday season, with crowded shopping malls and airports, provide many opportunities for thieves to steal your wallet and identity while you are distracted.
 
ProtectMyID has tips to help keep you and your identity safer: 
 
Keep a record
If your wallet and everything in it were suddenly missing, you’d need to know what you had lost. In a personal notebook you keep in a secure place at home, write down all of the information from the front and back of your credit and debit cards, driver´s license, medical insurance, and other important documents. Be sure to update the list as needed. This will help you make the appropriate calls following a theft.
 
Limit your cards
What you don’t carry in your wallet is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, carry only the one you use most often. Don´t write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet.
 
Protect your SSN or SIN
Your Social Security or Social Insurance number shouldn’t be on anything you regularly carry in your wallet. If any of your identification cards from a school, library, or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one. Carry your actual cards as infrequently as possible. If you need it to confirm your identity, be sure to return them to their safe storage place as soon as you can.
 
Make the calls
As soon as you’re certain that your wallet or important cards are missing, call the issuers of your credit, debit, medical and driver´s license cards. Notify them of the situation and ask for a new account or identification number. Verify that your old numbers are no longer active. Even if your wallet is returned, you can’t know for certain that someone hasn´t written down your card numbers to use at a later time.
 
File a police report
If identity theft does result from a lost wallet or stolen wallet, a police report filed at the time of theft will establish credibility. Even if you are traveling, file a report with local law enforcement. Always ask for a copy of the report for your personal records. If you later need to contest fraudulent charges or activity on your accounts, you’ll already have the report on hand.
 
Contact the credit bureaus
A thief may find enough information in your wallet to open new accounts or simply use your existing cards to commit fraud. By placing fraud alerts with the three national credit bureaus, you can help prevent new accounts from being opened in your name without your express permission.
 
Watch your account statements
Checking for the signs of identity theft is essential in the months following a lost wallet or stolen wallet. Carefully review each account statement, including your explanation of benefits (EOB) letters from your medical insurer. Look for purchases, transactions, or services you didn’t authorize or receive. If you suspect fraud, call the number on your statement immediately.
 
Review your credit reports and with services such as ProtectMyID, it’s simple. Reviewing your monthly statements will only identify fraud on your existing accounts. To identify new accounts fraudulently opened in your name, be sure to review your credit reports regularly – especially in the months following a lost wallet or stolen wallet. New accounts that you didn’t open and don’t control are a serious threat to your credit and identity.
 
DolceDolce Tip
Password your smart phone and install security and antitheft software. Your phone now has all or more the information that your wallet contains. If you lose your phone you want to be sure thieves cannot use it to access your financial and personal information.

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