According to the Federal Trade Commission, 279,156
identity theft complaints were reported in the U.S. in 2011—the single largest category of complaints. This figure does not take into account those who did not report that their identities were stolen or those who failed to realize that their identities had been compromised.
Personal information is private. For the fourth tip of National Consumer Protection Week—or NCPW—Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington reminds consumers to take steps in identity protection.
First, take a quiz at bbb.org to gauge identity theft risk.
Surf secure. Ensure online security:
- Only enter personal information on websites that offer secure connections; look for "https".
- Review privacy policies and other disclosures before entering information.
- Never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails, as items may contain viruses or malware.
- Always make sure that anti-virus software is up-to-date.
- Choose unique passwords; avoid common sequences.
Stay safe. Proactively protect personal information:
- Avoid giving out Social Security numbers. Find out why it is needed.
- Store personal documents securely; invest in a lock box or safe.
- Shred expired or unwanted documents: akorww.bbb.org/secure-your-id.
Study statements. Carefully analyze monthly account statements and look for discrepancies; report any issues immediately.
Check with BBB for current identity theft news; visit bbb.org and ftc.gov for valuable information on preventing identity theft.