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Tips for Protecting Your Family from Identity Theft

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Two people looking at a laptop with concern on their faceIdentity theft is on the rise. What are you doing to protect your family members from having their personal information stolen? In this blog, we offer tips for keeping your loved ones’ identities secure.

Use Social Media Wisely

Cybercriminals scour Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites for publicly-shared information. Don’t share personal details about yourself and your family on social media. Set your social media feeds to “private” so only trusted followers can view them.

Don’t Share Personal Information in the Checkout Line

The holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and it always pays to be extra cautious when making in-store purchases. Retailers want to add your personal information to their database, and cashiers are trained to ask for your phone number and email when you make your purchases. You are not required to provide your personal information to them; doing so increases your identity theft exposure.

Shred Unwanted Documents

Never toss unwanted documents in your trash can or recycling bin. Curbside receptacles offer an easy way for identity thieves to steal your personal information. A residential shredding service offers a secure solution for discarding old utility bills, credit card statements, pay stubs, tax records, etc. Use a shredding service to destroy your sensitive documents and ask for a Certificate of Destruction.

Review Your Credit

Each member of your family is entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Be sure to request your credit reports every year and scrutinize them for suspicious or incorrect information or sign up for a credit monitoring service.

Secure Your Home Wireless Network.

An unsecured home WiFi network offers an easy pathway for hackers to steal your family’s data. Make sure your wireless router has WPA-2 encryption and a firewall. Use a strong wireless password composed of letters, numbers, and special characters to prevent your network from being hacked.

Beware of Porch Pirates

Mail and package theft is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Use a lockable mailbox and check it daily. Do not send money, utility payments, or credit card payments from an unsecure personal mailbox. Instead, drop them in a USPS mailbox or at the post office.

Stay Safe When Shopping Online

Shopping online may be easy and convenient, but it increases your exposure to identity theft. Only buy from websites with “https” in the address bar. A locked padlock symbol in your browser window indicates your personal information and credit card is encrypted.

For more identity theft prevention tips, please call us at 610-692-TEAR (8327) or complete the form on this page.

Wiggins Shredding serves Pennsylvania and the Tri-State Area of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. We are your trusted, locally-owned paper shredding resource!

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