Your BBB® would like to remind everyone that April 22 is Secure Your ID Day. This event was designed to inform consumers about the importance of destroying all documents containing personal information such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, home addresses, cell phone numbers etc. If you own old documents featuring this type of information, the best thing to do is shred before discarding them in order to avoid ID theft.
“It’s true what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s identity! Cutting your bills in half before throwing them into the trash is not enough – you need to shred everything if you want to protect your personal information,” says Tri-State BBB Director of Media Services, Oana Schneider.
Vanderburgh County Prosecutor, Nick Hermann, states: “Protecting your personal information is the most critical step you can take to lowering your risk of identity theft. Scammers and hackers are looking for easy targets. Spare yourself unnecessary headaches by examining who you share information with, store and dispose of your information securely, always ask questions, and keep your security measures up-to-date on all electronics. Simple fixes today can save you big headaches tomorrow.”
To avoid ID theft, Tri-State BBB and Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office recommend taking the following steps:
1. Install a firewall and anti-virus program to protect your computer and personal information. Update these programs frequently.
2. Update your operating system and web browser software regularly.
3. Protect your passwords by keeping them in a safe place. Your passwords should have at least eight characters and should contain numbers, symbols, and letters. Create different passwords for each online account that you have.
4. Never give personal or financial information to unsolicited callers.
5. Shred all the documents before throwing them away.
If you think your personal information has been compromised:
- Immediately contact your debit or credit card issuer to report the misuse and request a new card.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their ID Theft Clearinghouse at www.ftc.gov/idtheft. This will allow the FTC to identify patterns associated with the unauthorized transactions and investigate the source of the data breach.
If you think you’ve been victimized by this scam, contact your BBB and local authorities immediately. Also, in order to stay informed about other scams happening in your area, go to bbb.org/scamtracker!
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville!