This year we all have different resolutions. Some of us want to travel more or eat healthier while others may want to read more books or just be more kind to others. But, how many of us resolve to better protect our identity?
Every 3 seconds
someone is the victim of identity theft in the United States.
We are inundated with information on how to protect ourselves online. We change our passwords, clear our cache and monitor every online account. But, we never talk about what to do offline. Ready to be shocked? Over 80% of identity theft takes place offline – 44% of it through purse and wallet theft alone. [Travelers] After you’ve secured yourself online, make sure to follow these offline steps from the FTC.
- Lock it up.
Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your information secure from roommates or workers who come into your home.
- Limit what you carry.
When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home. Make a copy of your Medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy. Carry the copy with you — unless you are going to use your card at the doctor’s office.
- Ask questions.
Before you share information at your workplace, a business, your child’s school, or a doctor’s office, ask why they need it, how they will safeguard it, and the consequences of not sharing.
- Opt out.
Consider opting out of prescreened offers of credit and insurance by mail. You can opt out for 5 years or permanently. To opt out, call 1-888-567-8688 or go to optoutprescreen.com.
- Trash it.
Destroy the labels on prescription bottles before you throw them out. Don’t share your health plan information with anyone who offers free health services or products.
- Deliver it.
Take outgoing mail to post office collection boxes or the post office. Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. If you won’t be home for several days, request a vacation hold on your mail.
- Incoming Mail
When you order new checks, don’t have them mailed to your home, unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock.
- Get a shredder and use it.
Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents when you don’t need them any longer.
While my family still has a few steps to work on, we’ve got the shredding down pat. Fellowes asked me to check out their newest model: the Powershred 73Ci. We’ve had smaller shredders before, but this one really blew the others out of the water. Every day we stack our old mail, labels, receipts and more on top and shred them into oblivion that night. The big bin means easy disposal and the safety sensor means I don’t have to worry about little hands getting too close. You can check out my full review here.
This post was created in partnership with Fellowes. All opinions are my own.
The stylish 73Ci is great for gadget lovers, like dad, because it features a sleek design and several advanced technologies such as:
⁃100% Jam Proof System that eliminates paper jams and powers through tough jobs
⁃SafeSense® Technology which automatically stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening
⁃A proprietary Energy Savings System that maximizes shredder energy savings 100% of the time – both in use and out of use
⁃Capacitive touch screen controls
⁃Heavy-duty Cross-Cut blades that destroy 12 sheets of paper into 397 particles per sheet, making it extremely difficult to reassemble
⁃The 73Ci is available at office superstores and their online counterparts for a suggested retail price of $199.99.