Friday, May 22, 2009

Financial Fridays - indentity theft

A couple years ago I taught a student whose father's life had been wrecked by identity theft. It was a story I'll never forget. Here a few things we can do to protect ourselves from identity theft:

1) Remove your social security number (SSN) from your checks if it is on there. Use your driver licence number instead if you need an identifying number. I did this immediately after hearing the student's story!

2) Never send your complete SSN or credit card number over email. If you are shopping online, look for the padlock symbol indicating you are on a secure site, and log off as soon as you have completed your purchase.

Create an account at and use it to pay when online. Else, MasterCard Securecode and Verified by Visa offer special credit card services for secure shopping online. These require the user to input a password before they can use the card online. I chose one of these options for my online purchases.

3) Buy a paper shredder and shred any financial statements or records before throwing them in the trash. This is the one I've yet to do, so I'm putting this on my to-do list today!

4) Once a year get a free credit report. See Make sure you recognize all the accounts and balances listed there.

In 2006, The Federal Trade Commission received nearly 250,000 complaints of credit-damaging identity theft. (More cases will go unrealized or unreported for years.) In this down turned economy, people grow desperate. So let's take a few simple but wise steps to protect our identity.

The Bible says a good name is worth more than silver and gold!


  1. Something we learned recently: use different usernames and passwords for different online accounts. Our eBay log in information was the same as our PayPal info, and when someone managed to get one, they automatically had the other. And voila, $1,500 came out of our checking account for a video game character (!!) we had "purchased" from eBay. Yikes! Fortunately, the situation was taken care of and we got all our money back.

  2. Rachel,

    This is some great info.

    About the shredder, I got one and it is addicting. I love to shred stuff, but once it is gone- it's gone.
    I use it to shred color paper for gift bags. (thrifty)
    Have a great weekend!

  3. I saw this information on TV.

    Never place outgoing bills in your mailbox overnight. Thieves look for flags up. They can make a solution from household chemicals that will dissolve the ink on your checks, then write it to themselves for any amount of money. It is suggested to put your bills in a big blue mailbox. (Are they called something else?)


  4. Great tips! My husband and I recently had our security freeze placed on our credit, as extra protection. Many blessings to you!

  5. Awesome reminder, Rachel! Scary stuff isn't it? I don't think we can be too careful when it comes to all this!

    Have a GREAT week!

    Sweet Blessings,
    Kate :)

  6. Those were nice quick tips. Thanks. I would add to use crosscut paper shredders for added security as strip cut shredders shreds are easier to piece back together than the cross cut ones.

  7. Great advice. This happened to me last summer, but fortunately my bank worked with me and reimbursed me the stolen money.

    Another tip: don't keep passwords in a Word document on your computer (I used to be guilty of this). Print a hard copy and hide in a safe place.

  8. Rachel,
    I had my credit card number stolen over Christmas this past year. They were buying online while I was out trying to purchase gas!
    I need to get that shredder! Thanks for the reminder.
    Have a great weekend!


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