Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE (704) 927-8617 office
BBB recommends that you take the following fives steps to prevent identity
theft whenever you are online:
Don’t fall for phishing e-mail
emails and phone calls purport to be from trustworthy organizations in order to
coerce sensitive information from victims. Phishing emails can look legitimate
with graphics and official logos of banks, government agencies, or credit card
companies. These emails usually include hyperlinks that direct the victim to a Web
site designed to install viruses and malware or solicit bank account or Social
order to prevent identity theft through phishing e-mails, you should completely
delete unsolicited e-mails from banks, credit unions, investment firms and
government agencies with which you do not already have an established
relationship. If the recipient does have an existing relationship with the supposed
originator of the e-mail, the BBB recommends calling the organization to confirm
whether or not the e-mail is legitimate before taking any further action. The
IRS and other government agencies do not use e-mail to contact consumers about
any issues or problems that require action on the part of the recipient.
Create strong passwords
and protect them
- Developing a habit of regularly changing passwords makes it much more
difficult for identity thieves to steal personal information. Some passwords,
however, are stronger than others. Attributes of a secure password include a
combination of numbers, capitalized letters and even symbols. You should never
use sensitive information for a password such as their Social Security number, mother’s
maiden name or birthday.
Surf the Internet safely
at home and on the road - When you are traveling, you should be wary of entering
passwords or sensitive information into a computer that is not yours, such as
at an Internet café, library, computer lab or airport kiosk. Hackers can
actually record your keystrokes to learn passwords and other information.
presents even more opportunities for identity thieves. A good rule of thumb is to
avoid exchanging sensitive information through the Internet when using a public
Wi-Fi connection and to simply wait until a trusted network can be used.
Guard against computer
attacks and hackers - If your computer is unprotected, it can become infected with
a virus or malware in a matter of minutes. Be sure you protect your computer
with anti-virus software, as well as anti-spyware and firewall protection. After acquiring security software, you must
keep the programs updated.
information over a secure server - When it comes to giving out your personal
information online, you should only do so on a secure server that encrypts
information as it is being transmitted so that other people cannot read it, if
they should intercept it. A secure
website address will begin with https, not just http.
more advice you can trust on ID theft prevention and for guidance on what to do
if your identity is stolen, please visit The Better Business Bureau online at www.bbb.org or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in
N.C. and S.C.