Protect Yourself from Identity Theft & Credit Card Fraud
By Bobby Buhr
Shred sensitive documents: Regularly shred outdated bank statements, credit card applications, bills, tax returns, and anything with your personal information before tossing it into the trash or recycling. Join us at our Virginia Beach office on September 17th for our annual shred day, “Shred with a Purpose”, from 9AM to Noon.
Guard your information online: Clear your logins and passwords. Change logins and passwords frequently. Pay for online purchases with a credit card which provides better guarantees under federal law than your online payment services or your debit card. Be alert for phishing, a trick that mimics legitimate businesses to obtain your personal information. Use a wipe utility before disposing of hard drives and mobile devices. Encrypt your data to keep online transactions secure. Use strong passwords and keep passwords private.
Monitor your bank and credit card statements: Check your accounts regularly for fraudulent charges.
Monitor your credit report: By law, you are entitled to a free report every year from each three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can order through each agency or www.annualcreditreport.com.
Credit and debit cards: Pay attention at the checkout line. If a cashier, wait staff, or salesperson takes your card and either turns away from you or takes too long to conduct what is usually a normal transaction, they could be scanning your card into a skimming terminal or even taking a picture of your card front and back with a cell phone. Do not sign the back of your credit and debit cards; instead, write “Photo ID Required.”
Checks: If you want to put a telephone number on your checks, use your work telephone number instead of your home number. If you have a post office box, use that address on your checks instead of your home address. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks.
Wallet: Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Keep photocopies of the contents of your wallet and all credit and debit cards. Copy both sides of each item, including your driver’s license, other identification cards, and credit/debit cards. This will permit you to know what you had, including account numbers, so you know which entities to contact if your wallet is lost or stolen. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also, when traveling, bring a copy of your passport and store it in an alternate location, like a locked suitcase or hotel safe, in case your passport is lost or stolen.
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about the Louisiana pets caught in the flood being brought to Norfolk?
Kit Kat: Well, it was a terrible shame about the flood in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana a couple of weeks ago! Not only were thousands of people displaced and their property destroyed, but pets were victims, too. Crash, the cockatiel, almost drowned in his cage before he was rescued. His owner had to give him up, because his owner lost everything in the flood. So nearly 60 animals, including rabbits, cats, dogs, and 2 cockatiels (Hula and Crash) came to Norfolk via vans. Their first stop was PETA headquarters on Front Street in Norfolk. From that starting point, they were met by staff from various local pet sanctuaries, including Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center, Chesapeake Animal Services, Chesapeake Humane Society, Danville Area Humane Society, and the Chowan-Gates shelter in North Carolina. Some of the pets already have homes waiting for them, but others will be available for adoption once they have been checked for any health issues. If you are interested in adopting one of these lovely creatures, email PETA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did the pets have to come all the way to Norfolk? Well, the shelters in Baton Rouge and other towns in Louisiana were so overwhelmed with processing the pets who lost their homes during the flooding, there was no room for the pets that were already there. PETA stepped in and offered to help, says Daphna Nachminovitch, senior Vice President of PETA. The shelters in Louisiana will focus on reuniting pets caught in the flooding with their owners who are interested in reuniting with them. (Cindy Clayton, “In Louisiana, it kept on raining. Now it’s raining cats and dogs here.” The Virginian-Pilot, August 23, 2016, p. 3)
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