7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft, the World’s Fastest Growing Crime

Liberty Power includes identity theft protection at no extra cost with your energy plan

Not only do we protect your energy costs –– we protect you.

Protecting yourself from identity theft is not easy in a world filled with technology snoops and credit card thieves. And it’s only getting worse.

Last year, 13.1 million people were victims of identity theft, according to the 2014 Identity Fraud Report by Javelin Strategy and Research.  The AARP says senior citizens alone lose $2.9 billion each year to fraud and identity theft. And the Federal Trade Commission reported that identity theft was the number one complaint last year.

“Identity theft, the fastest growing crime here, is as easy as one, two, three,” says George Piro, FBI Special Agent in Charge in Miami. “One, criminals steal someone’s name and Social Security number; two, they use that identity to file a fraudulent tax return on line; and three, they collect the refund check. Repeat thousands of times.”

Protecting yourself is key

You might think that computer hackers are the biggest threat. But a study found that more than half of all cases of ID theft are a result of losing your wallet or purse.

So, these tips should become your newest habits:


1. Unpack your wallet

Your Social Security card is an invitation to steal your identity. So, don’t put it into your wallet.

Same goes for your PINs, passwords, extra keys, blank checks, account numbers, even medical insurance cards. The AARP suggests taking out these sensitive items –– and making photocopies of what’s left.

2. Keep your private info private

 Just because a company or business wants your Social Security number doesn’t mean you have to give it to them.

The IRS suggests you ask a company why it needs your Social Security number and how it will be used before sharing it. You should also add firewalls and antivirus software to personal computers and avoid sharing personal information over the phone, Internet, or through the mail.

3. Keep an eye on your credit report

Keep an eye on your credit card bills in search of strange charges. And the IRS recommends you check your credit report every 12 months. It’s free. Be sure to check everything –– any open or closed accounts, along with any items that could lower your credit score. If these items are incorrect or if there are any suspicious credit inquiries, it might be a sign of identity theft.

If you think your identity has been stolen, place an alert on your file with credit reporting companies Experian, Equifax, or Transunion.

4. File your taxes early

 The number one tax scam in the IRS “Dirty Dozen” Report this year was tax fraud through identity theft. All an identity thief has to do is get a name and Social Security number to file for taxes. The crooks file for taxes and claim a refund before their victims do. The victims not only risk losing their refund but are at risk of significant penalties and interest charges on what they owe.

5. Don’t become cyber-bait

Phishing refers to a variety of online scams that lead people to share their personal and financial information and account logins. Fraudulent emails asking for personal information are the most known form of this scam, but ConsumerReports.org says fake websites and text messages are used too.

ConsumerReports.org lists ways to avoid getting hooked by phishy emails:

  •  If the the grammar and spelling is unusually bad it may be a scam
  • Hover over the links to see if they’re real
  • Type the URLs into your browser, instead of clicking any links

6. Shred sensitive documents

Invest in a shredder. All those outdated bills, old statements and even junk mail can include sensitive personal information. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a dumpster diver.

7. Get identity theft insurance

If you’re someone who does lots of online banking or shopping, or if you don’t have the time to monitor your credit information on your own, then you should get identity theft insurance.

How Liberty Power can help

At Liberty Power, we are all about peace of mind. Whether it’s securing your energy costs with our fixed rate plans or insuring your safe identity at no extra cost to you. With our energy services, you’ll receive the same identity theft protection you’d get from an expensive service like LifeLock, valued at $25 per month –– that’s a $300 dollar savings a year –– at no extra cost.

That’s the first and simplest way to protect yourself.

Identity Theft Solutions:

  • 24/7/365 monitoring awareness that significantly mitigates
  • Guaranteed ID profile restoration, if event occurs
  • $1 million theft insurance policy
  • 24/7 Lost Wallet Assistance
  • Award winning computer software protection

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