ID Theft Tops FTC's List—Are You Protecting Your Good Name?
For the eighth year in a row, identity theft led the way in 2007 as "the number one consumer complaint category".Â The Federal Trade Commission's List of Top Consumer Fraud Complaints also reported that the most common form of identity theft was credit card fraud, which accounted for a large portion of the $1.2 billion in consumer fraud losses last year.Â Â While credit card identity theft clearly continues to increase, you can safeguard your good name by trying these five simple tips:
- Write "Ask for ID" on the back of your credit cards instead of signing them
- Use a cross-cutting shredder to properly dispose of your bills, credit card offers, receipts, and other sensitive documents
- Check all 3 of your credit reports at least once every 6 months
- Sign up for online banking so you can monitor credit card bills and avoid having to shred sensitive documents sent in the mail
- Encrypt online passwords by substituting characters for letters.Â For example, use "H0n3y" if your pet's name is "Honey".Â Other substitutions include a "$" for "S", "@" for "a", and "1" for "i".