What are the top pieces of information identity thieves look for?
1. Social security number
2. Checking account information
3. Credit card number(s)
Your account number is printed on the bottom of your checks – so treat your checks like gold and NEVER leave a check in the outgoing mail where a thief could grab it! (If you pay utility bills with checks, make sure you drop the envelope with the check in it directly into a mailbox or hand it to a postal worker).
We need to do our business differently – shred sensitive mail like pre-approved credit card applications or other documents with account or social security numbers.
Other tips to keep your identity safe:
- NEVER, no mater how legit it looks, cash a check that you did not earn
- NEVER give money to get money
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is (avoid any offers using terms like “free”, “no risk”, or “no obligation”
- Get your phone number on the DO NOT CALL list
- Freeze your credit
- Use credit cards and pay the balance every month (credit card companies monitor your purchases and are therefore are much safer than checks)
- Monitor your credit and get a free annual credit report www.annualcreditreport.com.
- NEVER respond to unsolicited communication (phone or email) asking for information verification (account number, full name, address, social security number, etc.) If you think the call might be legitimate, hang up and dial the number on the back of your credit card
Seniors are especially vulnerable to consumer fraud and identity theft. Encourage the seniors in your life to freeze their credit and learn about protecting themselves.
Report suspicious activity to the Denver District Attorney’s Fraud Hotline: 720-913-9179