Phishers, spammers and hackers are stepping up their efforts to get to your information. These days, your sensitive data is worth more than your money, in most cases. One Social Security Number can allow a bad guy to get dozens of credit cards and even loans for houses, cars, boats and more. In our battle to protect our sensitive data and protect our identity, here are some tips and some web sites to put in our arsenal, if you are a US citizen:
- Check your credit report. Every 12 months, you are entitled to receive a free credit report from all three of the national credit agencies. Make sure to take advantage of that freebie. Here is the first web site you should visit for all the details: Federal Trade Commission’s Facts for Consumers.
- Check your Social Security Earnings Statement. The Social Security Administration sends you this statement every year about 3 months before your birthday. You should check this report for signs of fraud. Make sure that the listed amount of earnings are accurate. If it shows more money than you really made, that could be a sign that someone is using your SSN. If you have not received this statement before, you can order this online through the Social Security Administration’s web site.
- Sign up for the National Do-Not-Call List to block most of the unwanted telephone solicitations we all love to get. Yoou can do this by calling (888) 382-1222 or through the National Do Not Call web site. This is a big one, especially since cell phone numbers have been released.
- Put a stop to those annoying pre-approved credit and insurance offers that seem to show up daily. Do this by calling this phone number (888) 5-OPT-OUT / (888) 567-8688, or you can visit this web site and opt out online.
- Do you ever receive the spam faxes? Aren’t those things annoying? Well, you can complain to the Federal Communications Commission. If telemarketers won’t leave you alone or you get those goofy pre-recorded sales calls on your voice mail, you can complain to the If you receive unwanted telemarketing calls or if pre-recorded sales calls are left on your answering machine, complain to the Federal Trade Commission.
These are a few very powerful assets to keep in your arsenal. For our readers in other countries, there may be similar offerings that your government supplies. If you are aware of these offerings, please let us know so that we can spread the word.