- Adopt a need to know attitude – only provide what is required such as your mother’s maiden name for verification. But do not provide this information if someone calls you requesting this information, your valid bank should have this sensitive data on file.
- Do not provide your social security number by phone, credit card number, or mother’s maiden name when asked to verify the information.
- Use the Better Business Bureau to ensure the company you are dealing with has a good reputation.
- Always use the option of having your post office hold your mail when travelling.
- Do not go on social media sites announcing that you are about to go on vacation.
- Check your monthly statements and review any transaction that you don’t recognize.
- Check your credit report annually. Follow this link for your free credit report: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
- Shred documents containing sensitive information when no longer needed. Make sure you purchase shredders with cross cut capabilities not strip cut.
- If you are on the phone providing important information that are sensitive, make sure it is from a private location to prevent others from accidentally hearing your credit card number, social security number, date of birth, etc.
- If you think you have become a victim, it is important to act immediately. Minimizing the potential damage to your reputation and personal funds is the key. If you suspect it is your credit card, contact your credit card company and report the possibility of theft. If you suspect someone is using your social security number, contact the Social Security Administration to report the fraud: 1-800-269-0271. Then call the fraud units of each of the 3 main credit reporting companies:
- Equifax – http://www.equifax.com/home/en_us
- Experian – http://www.experian.com/
- Trans Union – http://www.tuc.com/
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report your situation:
- Phone – 1-877-ID THEFT
- Mail – Consumer Response Center, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20580
- Online – https://www.ftc.gov/
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse created a Fact Sheet on dealing with a security breach that was revised last month March 1, 2015. They provided resources for consumers with links: https://www.privacyrights.org/how-to-deal-security-breach#resourcesnew