Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
has joined the Better Business Bureau in recognizing National Protect Your
Identity Week by urging Ohioans to guard their personal information. DeWine
also reminded those who may be victims of identity theft that he has started an
Identity Theft Unit located within the Attorney General's Consumer Protection
Section to offer assistance to victims.
National Protect Your Identity Week, Oct. 20-27, is a public-private initiative
to increase awareness of the threat of identity theft, what can be done to
fight it, and what consumers can do if they become victims.
A report released by Javelin
Strategy and Research reports that in 2011 identity fraud increased by 13
percent. About 11.6 million Americans became victims of identity theft last
year – a number equal to the entire population of Ohio.
The Attorney General has provided
a list of top consumer prevention tips.
- Keep personal data private -
At home, at work, and on your mobile devices, secure your personal and
financial records in a locked storage device or behind a password. Avoid
mailing checks to pay bills. Use online bill payment on a secure Internet
connection instead, and use direct deposit for payroll checks.
While social networks are
popular, be careful about publicly exposing personal information that is
typically used for authentication (full birthday, high school name). This
applies to all social networks.
Use mobile devices
responsibly - Mobile devices are a treasure trove of information for
fraudsters. The "always on" functionality of mobile devices
provides fraudsters with new avenues for securing information. Be sure of
the applications you download, the data you share over public Wi-Fi, and
where you leave your device.
- Ask questions - Before
providing any information on mobile phones, social media sites or
transaction sites, determine who is asking for the information. Ask: Why
do you need it? How is the information being used? If volunteering
information, ask yourself if you have more to gain than to lose by sharing
personal and unnecessary details.
If you are doing business
online, make sure the site is secure and your anti-virus, firewall, and
other personal computer security applications are up-to-date. Shred all documents that contain personal information before you dispose of them.
Keep copies of credit cards (front and back) in a safe place so you will be able to call and cancel them if they are stolen Carry only the number of
credit cards that you need for a specific outing. Keep your Social
Security card in a safe place at home.
Shred all documents that
contain personal information before you dispose of them. Keep copies of credit cards (front and back) in a safe place so you will be able to call and cancel them is they are stolen.
- Check your credit history at
least once a year using www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling
877-322-8228. If you notice suspicious activity, contact the appropriate
credit bureau immediately.
- Review your medical, bank,
and credit card statements thoroughly upon receipt and notify the
provider/institution of any discrepancies.
For more information, or if you believe you may be a victim of identity theft, go to OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
or call the AG's help desk at 800-282-0515. Consumers can also visit their local Better Business
Bureau online at www.bbb.org
. Washington and Wood counties are served by the BBB's Canton office.