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11 Effective, Inexpensive Tips for Protecting Your Identity

by Samuel N. Asare

rp1According to the Federal Trade Commission, tens of millions of Americans – a number that is growing by the hour – have discovered that they’ve been victims of identity theft. This insidious crime can be quite costly and cumbersome to deal with in the aftermath.

Although a person’s identity can be stolen through countless schemes, with new methods being discovered daily, we believe that implementing these everyday steps can help ensure the safety of your personal information.

1. Legitimate institutions will not and should not ask you to provide sensitive personal information via email. Do not respond to any emails requesting personal information, such as your social security number, user IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

2. Never release your personal information over the telephone, unless you initiated the call.

3. Make a habit of reviewing all your account statements immediately after you receive them, and promptly report any mistakes to your financial institution(s).

4. Keep all documents containing your personal information in a secure place. Remember to shred such documents before disposing of them to prevent Dumpster divers from gaining access to your personal information.

5. Review your credit report for inaccuracies and unauthorized activity. Be sure to check for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year from the three major nationwide credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. But you must ask for it by calling (877) 322-8228 or visiting

6. Make sure your computer has security software and firewalls with the latest updates. Even though most security software has an automatic update feature, double-check that yours is configured to routinely perform those updates.

7. Always access your financial accounts from your own computer, because public computers may contain software that captures logon information which could end up in the hands of identity thieves. If you must use another computer, be sure to completely delete all history of your use when you finish.

8. If possible, your passwords should combine letters, symbols, and numbers. Mix upper and lower cases, when applicable. Make it a point to change your passwords on a regular basis – usually every 90 days – and desist from using the same password for multiple accounts. Do not store your passwords on your computer, and never use your social security number as a username or password.

9. Always use the “logout” button to end your web sessions, as access does not necessarily terminate by simply closing a browser or entering a new web address.

10. Before you download anything, be sure you are fully aware of what you are downloading, and do this only from sites you know and trust. Avoid clicking on pop-up windows.

11. Bear in mind that wireless networks in public areas like restaurants, coffeehouses, airports, and hotels have low security settings to allow free and easy access. This, however, increases the possibility of someone intercepting your information.

What to Do When You Discover Your Identity Has Been Stolen

· Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the three national credit reporting bureaus. You need only contact one of the credit bureaus, as whichever one you contact is required to contact the other two.

o Equifax – 800-525-6285

o Experian – 888-397-3742

o TransUnion – 800-680-7289

· Close accounts that you know or believe may have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

· Notify your local police department and get an “Identity Theft Report.”

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft hotline (877-438-4338) or by visiting the FTC website

To learn more, as well as discover and explore life-changing, proven strategies designed to maximize your wealth, please visit, or call (877) 656-9111.

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This website is for informational purposes only. All opinions expressed are solely those of Laser Financial Group, LC., and our editorial staff. The information is not to be construed as any form of professional advice, nor as solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security, whatsoever. No particular outcome is guaranteed. No strategy can guarantee a profit, protect against loses, or ensure peace of mind. Recommendations are based solely on third party insurance products for which we receive compensation. Laser Financial Group, LC, does not provide investment advisory services. This does not constitute an offer to provide services in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation would be unlawful under the laws of such jurisdiction. Any United States tax reference on this website is not intended to be used, and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or promoting or recommending to another party anything addressed herein.

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