Protecting Your Identity

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Your bag is the repository of all things important – diapers, bottles and snacks, band aids, your cell – basically anything your children will or might need. Additional contents most likely include your credit cards and maybe even a check book -all of which contain loads of information about you and your money.

One of our advisors on the topic of protecting your identity, John Brenkovich, registered CFP, registered ChFC, registered AAMS suggests the following:

Identity thieves can empty your bank account, use your credit cards, open new accounts, as well as furnish their homes for as long as it takes you to take your child out of his car seat and put him to bed.

There is just no reasonable way to completely prevent identity theft, but the following are some steps to take to help protect yourself:

1. If you shop online (and most busy mothers do) look for a URL that begins with “https” (instead of “http”). Also, you might want to turn on Internet Explorer’s SmartScreen Filter to help identify fraudulent websites.

2. Review credit reports annually: You may get your credit report for free once a year. To do so, contact the Annual Credit Report Request Service online at www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228). If you need to correct any information or dispute any entries, contact the three national credit reporting agencies:

3. Never carry your Social Security card (or any other card that contains your social security number) with you unless you’ll need the card itself .

  • If your state uses your SSN as your driver’s license number, request an alternate number
  • Don’t have your SSN printed on your checks and don’t let merchants write it on your checks.
  • Don’t give out your SSN on the phone unless you initiated the call.

4. Don’t carry your checkbook with you.

5. Don’t throw out a credit card receipt until you have checked that it doesn’t contain your credit card number and if possible shred all receipts and cancelled checks.

6. Install a firewall on your computer. Don’t store personal information on a lap top that you carry with you (and could loose or have stolen). And when it comes time to upgrade to a new computer, remove all your personal information from the old one before you dispose of it. Using the “delete” function isn’t sufficient to do the job; overwrite the hard drive by using a “wipe” utility program.

  • Use a strong password (with at least 6-8 upper and lower case characters as well as numbers and symbols.

These suggestions may seem time consuming (as if you have an extra minute in your life!) and possibly even unnecessary. Their value is only evident when you are robbed. In fact, only the credit report process takes time on a routine basis.

Try to schedule that call while waiting at the pediatrician, on line for school pick up or waiting during a sports practice. You will feel like you made good use of what is normally wasted time and you will feel more secure.

For more information, referrals or a copy of the Parent/Child workbook  please contact us [email protected].

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.


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