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Identity Theft Protection

Below a few useful tips to help you deter and prevent identity theft and fraud.

Beware of bin raiders. The best thing is to shred everything with a paper shredder before discarding it into your rubbish or recycling bin. Shredding documents is the best way to destroy them securely. We recommend a crosscut or confetti cut shredder which will give you a higher level of security by shredding sensitive documents into small unreadable particles.

Always take credit card receipts with you. Never toss them in a public waste bin. When shopping, put receipts in your wallet rather than in the shopping bag, when you get home shred them or store them in a safe place.

Beware of companies contacting you unexpectedly and asking for any personal information. Should you feel obliged to answer any questions rather ask for a name and contact number and verify this with the organisation before calling back.

Reduce the number of credit and debit cards you carry in your wallet. If possible carry only a credit card as you have a higher level of protection. Remember to contact your card company if you lose a card or if a new card doesn’t arrive. Sign and activate new cards immediately.

When using your credit and debit cards at restaurants and stores, pay close attention to your card at all times. Dishonest employees have been known to use small hand-held devices called skimmers to quickly swipe the card details. The information is then stored and usually sold to organized criminal gangs that use the account data for Internet shopping and/or the creation of counterfeit cards.

Use a credit card when shopping online because you are better protected in case of fraud. Remember to stay safe online. If you use the Internet make sure you have the latest security patches and up to date anti-virus software installed.

Avoid “Auto Complete” software when you fill out an online form as this type of software remembers your personal details, which makes it easier for thieves if they access your PC.

If you are paying online, check to see that the page you are entering you card details into has an https at the beginning of the website address. The ‘s’ signifies it is a secure page.

Should you upgrade your old computer before disposing of it, remove data by using a strong “wipe” utility program. Do not rely on the “delete” function to remove files containing sensitive information.

Never respond to "phishing" email messages. These appear to be from your bank, eBay, or PayPal. They instruct you to visit their web site, which looks just like the real thing. There, you are told to confirm your account information.
Remember legitimate financial companies never email their customers with such requests. These messages are the work of fraudsters attempting to obtain personal information in order to commit identity theft.

Be aware of file-sharing and file-swapping programs. Many file-sharing programs are downloaded by youngsters without the knowledge of their parents and they can expose your computer to illegitimate access by hackers and fraudsters. Install and update strong firewall and virus protection.

Order your credit report at least once a year. If you are a victim of identity theft, your credit report will contain the tell-tale signs – inquiries that were not generated by you, as well as credit accounts that you did not open. The earlier you detect fraud, the easier and quicker it will be to clean up your credit files and regain your good credit status.

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National Identity Fraud Prevention Week

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Use a credit card when buying online - it gives you added protection against ID fraud