TREND Fall 2018 - Page 39

HOW TO MINIMIZE YOUR RISK OF IDENTITY THEFT Being confident about the security of your private information can be challenging in today’s digital- everything world. SunTrust Bank, through a partnership with Experian, published these helpful tips. Keep important documents at home. Don’t carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport with you outside your house can help you minimize your risk of identity theft. Pick up checks in person. When ordering new checks, pick them up at the bank instead of having them sent to your home. This makes it harder for your checks to be stolen, altered, and cashed by identity thieves. Think before you share. Identity thieves may call, sometimes posing as bank or government agency officials. Do not give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Invest in a shredder. Shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, returned checks and any other sensitive information before throwing it away. Cover your bases. Ensure that your employer, landlord and anyone else with access to your personal data keeps your records safe. Order your free credit report. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every year. Make sure you review your credit reports for inaccuracies. See below for how to use your credit report to spot identity theft. Keep your SSN under wraps. If possible, make sure your bank does not print your SSN on your personal checks. Don’t use weak passwords. Using passwords that include a mix of letters, numbers and special characters makes it harder for identity thieves to crack these codes.