Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Thought you'd considered it all when it comes to emergency prevention and disaster preparedness? Well, if you really want to get serious about this, you might want to consider a few more things that will help you feel like you've done everything you can to protect yourself and those you love. If you haven't already done so, check out our Feeling Safe in a Shaky World series for the basics of emergency planning. Then, come on back here to read about even more ideas to consider!
Always cancel your credit cards if they are stolen! Check your credit reports and billing statements every six to twelve months to stay aware of any false accounts and unusual charges.
A general tip: Do not use your social security number on your accounts. Nearly every business will allow you to substitute that identifying number with a separate password. It is easy to apply for a Federal Tax ID number to use in place of your social security number. This will greatly reduce the chances of your social security number being used to steal your identity.
Do not carry your social security card in your purse or wallet. It should never be with you unless you are planning to use it for specific business that day. Anyone with your social security number can access most of your information—so keep it in a safe and secure place.
PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN FROM IDENTITY THEFT
Be aware of the potential for the identity theft of your children. If you receive unsolicited mail in your children’s names, their identity may have been stolen. Child identity theft can go undetected for years. The identity theft may not be discovered until your child is old enough to apply for a credit card, loan, or other financial service on their own. It is possible that your child’s identity could be stolen and used for YEARS before anyone is aware or thinks to check it. This creates a web of false credit history for your child that could take years to undo and leaves major problems that can negatively affect your child’s finances as they try to establish a credit history of their own.
Always pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings. Don’t let anyone look over your shoulder as you enter you PIN.
Use only secure bank ATM machines, if possible.
Convenience store ATMs, and many like them, have fewer security protections than secure ATM machines.
Never use a common number as your pin. Do not use your date of birth, phone number, street address, or any other easily identifiable information. When choosing a pin number, create one that is entirely random. This will help prevent access to your accounts.
**Never count your cash at the machine or in public! Wait until you are in a secure place!
Closely monitor your bank statements and balances. Immediately report any problems to your bank.
Always use the recommended Firewall and Browser Security settings on your computer.
Whenever you shop online, look for a "padlock icon" on the checkout page. This is proof that the site uses an encryption system on all personal data. Look for “https” in the URL. This is another guarantee of site security.