More than 12 million citizens have been the victims of Identity Theft already in 2015. Contact the law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates to find out tips for Identity Theft Protection
“The 2015 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million U.S. consumers in 2014, compared with $18 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. There was a new identity fraud victim every two seconds in 2014,” according to the Insurance Information Institute article, “Identity Theft and Cybercrime.”
Although these statistics show Identity Theft incidents declining slightly since 2014, it’s still a very real problem. And many people panic when they see these numbers. In response, companies offering expensive identity theft prevention programs have cropped up. For some people the peace of mind might justify the cost. But as the ConsumerReports article “How to Protect yourself from Identity Theft” reports, “Most of their products are unnecessary or ineffective, or they duplicate things you can do yourself – free.” The ConsumerReports article outlines several good suggestions for identity theft prevention.
Common sense identity theft prevention advice
Social Security ID: Never share your Social Security number with strangers. Don’t carry your Social Security Card in your wallet.
Passwords: Change passwords often. Use capital letters, symbols and numbers.
Online Sign-in Security Questions: Don’t post the answers to personal questions on social media such as pets’ names, mother’s maiden name, birthdate, etc.
Mobile Devices: Secure access to a tablet or smartphone with a PIN or password
Credit Reports: Review credit reports frequently. “Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the big three credit bureaus. Stagger your requests so that you’ll get your file from one of them every four months,” suggests ConsumerReports.
Unsolicited Credit-Card Offers: “You can stop credit bureaus from selling your name to lenders by going to www.optoutprescreen.com or calling 888-567-8688,” according to the ConsumerReports article.
Monitor bank and credit accounts: Look closely and often at financial records. Set up online or mobile alerts if possible.
Take Privacy Notifications Seriously: Although boring and lengthy, take a moment to review the privacy policies of businesses or service providers before you sign up or when annual privacy updates are released.
Secure Sensitive Documents: Keep personal records like passports, birth certificates and tax records in a safe place. “If you are disposing of financial or tax documents, make sure you shred them, and if you are keeping hard copies for your records, store them in a safe location,” writes CPA Lisa Greene-Lewis
What if you suspect Identity Theft?
If you are concerned that a security breech occurred, place security freezes or fraud alerts on your credit reports. “Filing a fraud alert is appropriate anytime your identity information is compromised, such as when your wallet, cell phone, or computer is lost or stolen or your home or car is broken into,” according to the ConsumerReports article.
Contact Equifax at www.equifax.com
Contact Experian at www.experian.com
Contact TransUnion at www.transunion.com
If you feel you have been the victim of Identity Theft, act quickly. Notify banks, credit cards, credit reporting bureaus and insurance providers. Change passwords. Place holds or fraud alerts on accounts. Notify the police.
White Lake Family Law Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler gives identity theft prevention advice
Michigan Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler tells clients to store their legal documents securely. She advises people to keep one copy of their wills, trusts, marriage/birth/death/divorce certificates, deeds, Powers of Attorney in a safe or safe-deposit box and give a copy to a trusted family member to store safely.
“If you’re keeping these documents in electronic format on your computer, make sure you have updated and appropriate firewalls and anti-virus protection set up,” suggests Wayne-Spindler.
The experienced attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates place high priority on protecting your Identity. Our clients know that they can trust us to handle their legal issues (and legal paperwork) safely and securely so they can take care of their loved ones.
Contact Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at our Milford, Michigan office by calling 248-685-8888. The attorneys provide free consultations for people throughout Southeastern Michigan, including Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee and Livingston Counties. We handles cases in Milford, Highland, Hartland, Wixom, White Lake, South Lyon, New Hudson, Grand Blanc, Holly and many more local communities.
Written and Posted by Christine Donlon Long
Communications’ Specialist for Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates