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March 1, 2010

Don’t Get Punked by Identity Theft

George B. Thompson

Everyday thousands of ordinary people like you and me become victim to identity theft. Identity theft is when a criminal takes someone’s personal information (social security number, birth date, bank account number, credit card   number etc.) for their personal gain. The scary thing about this type of crime is that it can happen at any time – you can be at home, work, school or sleep. Identify thieves are no respecters of people, time or place. They will prey at any opportunity and waste no time getting what they want.

Minimize your risks and take proactive steps to stop identity theft before it happens to you.

Here are a few steps you can take to prevent identify theft from happening to you.

  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, mail or internet –
  • Unless you initiated the contact; however still be cautious, know who you are giving the information to and what it will be used for and who will see it.
  • Don’t carry more than what you need in your wallet or purse.
  • Avoid carrying your social security card
  • Avoid carry more than 1-2 credit cards
  • Use cash in questionable retail stores, nail shops etc.
  • Review your credit report on a regular basis
  • Shred your documents
  • Pay close attention to your mail
  • Know when your bills arrive
  • Shred mail once you have read it
  • Review your credit card and bank statements every month
  • Create strong passwords.

Avoid using your birthday, name, car model, pet name

Change your passwords regularly and do not use the same one for everything.

  • Beware of online phishing scams
  • Do not open e-mail from senders that you do not know
  • Do not click on links that you do not know

I hope these steps are helpful to you. Unfortunately we cannot think that it will never happen to us. Statistics are showing that identity theft is on the rise becoming more frequent and pervasive. Over the next couple of weeks we will take a look at some common ways that identify theft happens and what steps you should take if you become a victim of identity theft.

It is my desire that you are inspired to be a good steward over these three areas of your life: Time, Talent, Treasure. Time, you must learn to manage your time; talent you have skills and gifts and lastly treasure, your finances need to managed appropriately. All of these areas work together; when they are managed properly you will be able to become A BETTER YOU!

Pastor George

Written By Pastor George B. Thompson for Elev8.com

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