Preventing Identity Theft

Nearly one in every 20 Americans became a victim of identity fraud in 2011. That’s more than 11.6 million US adults.1 A computer and less than one hour of your time can help you protect your assets and credit.

LOCK DOWN YOUR CREDIT

Each of the three national credit reporting bureaus have links that instruct you on security freezes and requests to place or lift a security freeze on credit use. You can do so for each family member so that no one has the authority to use your identity to access credit without your knowledge. Visit:

www.Equifax.com

www.Experian.com

www.TransUnion.com

OPT OUT OF CREDIT OFFERS

You may request to opt-out of pre-approved credit offers for up to five years or permanently. Thieves with access to your personal information may fill out these forms and change addresses and telephone numbers, hiding the paper trail as your credit is damaged. Visit the official website: www.OptOutPrescreen.com.

REVIEW FREE CREDIT REPORTS

One free credit report can be obtained each year per individual from each of the national credit-reporting bureaus. Make it a habit to review your credit history every three months with a report from a different agency. Check their links to obtain a report or request it from the following site approved by all three bureaus: www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

DIGITAL SAFEGUARDS

Social media and mobile phone users have higher incidence rates of fraud than other consumers.1

Here are some digital safeguards:

  • Look for the secure “lock” symbol when performing a transaction online. Verify that the website address is certified and encrypted. You may set your browser settings to automatically retrieve the secure version of sites you visit (“http” to “https”). You may also set up security alerts in your web browser to let you know if the personal or financial information you share could be viewed by unauthorized users.
  • Check your privacy settings on your social media profiles. Do not share unnecessary identifying information such as a full date of birth, phone number, or family and pet names.
  • Update to the latest operating system on both your computer and mobile phones. Use passwords on home screens. Do not save login information for identifying sites. Change passwords from time-to-time.
  • Use online bill payment on secure internet access (not public Wi-fi). Set up email or text fraud alerts with your credit card provider, bank or financial institution.

 

RESOURCES

For more information on identity theft and how to review your personal credit, refer to these websites:

www.equifax.com

www.experian.com

www.transunion.com

www.optoutprescreen.com

www.annualcreditreport.com

www.idtheftcenter.org

www.bbb.org

 

Hewins Financial Advisors, LLC d/b/a Wipfli Hewins Investment Advisors, LLC (“Hewins”) is an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Hewins is a proud affiliate of Wipfli LLP. Information pertaining to Hewins’ advisory operations, services and fees is set forth in Hewins’ current Form ADV Part 2A brochure, copies of which are available upon request at no cost or at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov. The views expressed by the author are the author’s alone and do not necessarily represent the views of Hewins or its affiliates. The information contained in any third-party resource cited herein is not owned or controlled by Hewins, and Hewins does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information that may be found in such resources. Links to any third-party resource are provided as a courtesy for reference only and are not intended to be, and do not act as, an endorsement by Hewins of the third party or any of its content or use of its content. The standard information provided in this blog is for general purposes only and should not be construed as, or used as a substitute for, financial, investment or other professional advice. If you have questions regarding your financial situation, you should consult your financial planner, investment advisor, attorney or other professional.
Nima Tolooi
Nima Tolooi

Founder, Former Editor in Chief

Nima Tolooi is the founder, web developer and former editor-in-chief of OneBite. He was formerly the Interactive Marketing Manager for Hewins Financial Advisors, based in Chicago, IL.

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Preventing Identity Theft

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