Are You Doing All You Can to Prevent ID Theft?

identity theft in rocky mount

You may believe you’re taking all precautions to protect yourself from identity theft. You regularly check your credit scores, you carefully scan your credit card bills to ensure there are no surprises, and you carefully shred any documents with sensitive information. You don’t carry a lot of credit cards with you, and you safeguard your Social Security number.

But what about your health insurance card?

While you may think you’re doing all you can to prevent ID theft, there are several things you may have overlooked.

For example, medical ID theft is one of many ways that your identity can be stolen. Thieves then use your information to send fake bills to your health care insurer and even obtain health care services.

Did you consider that someone could steal your child’s identity? Often, child ID theft goes undetected until the victims become adults and apply for a student loan or other item. What have you been doing to protect your child?

Fortunately, there are some great tips from the North Carolina Attorney General that can help you keep your identity – and the information of those you love — safe from predators. We’ve compiled some of these below.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

1. Properly Dispose of Electronics

You’re aware that you need to shred or destroy written documents that may have information such as account or social security numbers, but have you considered your laptop? What about your phone?

If you’re going to sell, donate, or even recycle your old computer be sure you wipe the drive with a reputable utility program. Exercise the same precautions with your phone. Make sure that your history and any photographs have been removed. 

2. Be Wary of Sharing Your Medical Information

If you see any incorrect charges or erroneous information on your medical bills or statements, you should let your provider and insurance company know. However, it’s equally important to be wary of anyone calling asking for your insurance policy numbers. Thieves can call pretending to be from your pharmacy, doctor’s office or health insurance company. Don’t be fooled! Always take time to verify anything that seems suspicious. 

3. Make Sure You Have a Strong Password

Norton emphasizes that it’s important to have two-step verification for your email passwords. Other advice includes:

  • Be sure to use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Avoid using passwords that are actual words (like “cabbage”) because many hackers have dictionary-based systems that can easily decipher your password. 
  • Make sure your password is at least eight characters long.
  • Be sure to change your passwords regularly.
  • You can get an idea of how strong your password is by utilizing this password checker tool

In addition, to avoid identity theft, you should:

  • Avoid carrying your Social Security card. 

  • Be wary of sharing any information such as your birthday, account numbers or Social Security number. Verify the request for legitimacy before providing details.

  • Always review your bills, bank statements and medical claims for accuracy.

  • If using a public Wi-Fi connection, be sure to check your firewall settings. If possible, avoid using a public Wi-Fi.

  • If you’re going to be away from home for several days, either place your mail on hold or have a trusted neighbor collect it for you. (We’ve reviewed this and some other useful tips in our earlier article Going on Vacation? Fight Crime and Protect Your Home While You’re Away

The Rocky Mount Police Department has additional information on identity theft available through the city’s website where you can view an informative video.

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