The Internet is your entrance to the marketplace for the world from the comfort of your home or office. There are safety concerns to address when it comes to identity theft and fraud because organized identity theft groups constantly try to remotely load spyware, malware, Trojan horses, and botnets on victim computers. These programs transmit your keystrokes and other stored computer files back to the thieves.
Information about you is frequently shared with multiple business partners for product offerings, services, and promotions in this digital world. You have choices regarding how much information you want to share with marketing firms, companies, and some government agencies. To help you “opt-out” of information sharing related to credit bureaus, various state departments of motor vehicles, and direct marketers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created a website providing information on limiting information sharing and junk mail.
Ever fill out warranty cards? Be careful of the information you provide on warranty cards that come with appliances or electronics, instructing you to complete it and return it to the manufacturer. Often product warranty cards are postcards that, if returned, could potentially expose your information to anyone processing the card. These warranty cards are entered into marketing databases, and in many cases, the data is sold to third parties. It isn’t necessary to submit the product warranty card for the warranty to be in effect because most manufacturers provide limited warranties.
If you learn that you've become a victim of identity theft, immediately contact the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) to let them know about your situation. Next, report the crime to the local police to establish the criminal activity and the facts. It's important that you obtain a copy of the report from the police because the credit bureaus, credit card companies, and other financial institutions will ask for a copy. Finally, file an identity theft complaint with the FTC. Although the FTC doesn't conduct criminal investigations, it provides detailed information and assistance to victims to resolve financial and other problems resulting from victimization.
The holidays are the worst time for cyber attacks, identity theft, and fraud. Please stay safe and stay smart. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.
This document is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. One should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own personal situation. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products offered by an insurance company. They do not refer in any way to securities or investment advisory products Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results. Death benefit payouts are based upon the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. The firm providing this document is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration or any other government entity.
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