Protecting yourself from Identity Theft should be a chief concern in your daily life. There are tens of millions of victims each year, with the most common attack being credit card fraud. There are also many reports of government documents and benefits fraud as well as phone, utilities, or bank fraud. If your identity is stolen it will cost you time and money and possibly damage your credit status and reputation. When you have a large Littleton property management portfolio, you must take many steps of caution and be vigilant. There is a lot of sensitive information to protect. There are many things you can do to remain protected on your own.
Always guard your social security number. You only have to give it out when getting your credit run, working with loan documents, or filling out a W9 or any other tax forms. If you must email it, always encrypt your PDF. Never carry your actual card on you and be sure to only give out when absolutely necessary. If you can, create a difficult pin number, or use simple ones but change them often. Always keep them private, and don’t write them down. Use encrypted password apps on your computers and phones.
Always grab your mail promptly. Avoid leaving it in your mailbox overnight. You never know who might want to try and steal your mail. Pay attention to routine mail with sensitive information. If it doesn’t reach you in time, contact the sender. Keep receipts to compare against account statements to spot unauthorized transactions quickly. If you bank with a national bank, there are many safeguards in place if someone does get a hold of your credit card information. Chase especially is great with stopping the transactions from going through, freezing the card, and making sure no money goes out.
Any documents you no longer need must be shredded. No exceptions. Any account statements, ledgers or expired cards should always be shredded immediately after you no longer need them. Credit offers that come in the mail should be cut up and discarded immediately.
If you are storing personal information at work or home find a safe place to do it, and don’t let anyone know the location. Fortify your home computer by installing necessary firewalls, virus-detection software, browsing protection, anti-malware software and other defender programs. Never entertain any unsolicited requests. The IRS never ask for any personal information over email, just like suspicious calls asking for social security numbers should not be responded to. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year; use this to monitor any unauthorized activity. If you make these tips your daily habits you will be protected against identity theft, and will not have to spend time and resources battling against fraud.
Blue Olive Properties protects all sensitive information given for its Littleton property management portfolio. We take no risk when it comes to our owner’s and tenants’ privacy.