Last week I attended the FPA (Financial Planning Association) of Orange County Quarterly Education meeting. One of thepresenters, John Sileo, was an identity theft expert. He became an expert because he was a victimof identity theft 2 times. Once bypeople that went through his garbage and were able to get his information, andonce by a business partner who had access to all of his information.
I wanted to share some of the important points he made.
The most important point is that your identity is an assetworth protecting.
He suggests that you put a credit freeze on your credit withall 3 credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and Transunion. This means that you cannot obtain new creditunless you approve it. It does notfreeze the credit you already have. Ifyou want credit for a car loan or any credit, you need to call the creditbureaus and pay a fee to unfreeze the credit for a short time. It is worth the time and effort.
Stop your junk mail. Either call 1-888-5-OPTOUT or go to www.optoutprescreen.com
Invest in a confetti shredder and use it to shred alldocuments that have identifying information on them.
Monitor your credit. www.annualcreditreport.com is run by the 3 main credit bureaus and it is free. If you want your credit score there is a fee.
He also thinks that on-line banking and bill paying is saferthan paying by mail. A check sent out by the bank has the bank's account number (and routing) on it, not yours.
He also has great suggestions on protecting your computersand laptops on his website – www.sileo.com