Good tips in a storm to protect your ID | Business
(WMC-TV) - The last thing you think of as the tornado's barreling down on your house -- is your personal information.
That's why the identity protection experts of ProtectMyID (www.protectmyid.com) suggested taking these precautions in order to secure your identity before the threat of severe weather:
- Keep your tax and insurance papers, financial records, medical identification cards and items with Social Security numbers in a portable locked box that can easily be taken with you if you must evacuate or move into an underground shelter. Prepare your computer for transport, or remove the hard drive and put it in your locked box.
- If you find you will be housed in a community shelter, do not leave the items in your locked box unwatched under any circumstances. The good news is you have a cache of important information to help you recover. The bad news is this is a tempting target for an identity thief.
- If you run a business, keep locked files with personal identifying information in the safest place of your building space. Should you return and find this information missing for whatever reason, immediately contact law enforcement. Then contact, if possible, the affected parties so that they can place fraud alerts on their credit reports.
- Be aware and wary of scams. Fraudsters will often use a disaster situation to exploit victims. They may contact disaster victims stating that company databases were damaged, and that they need critical information to reconstruct the accounts that were affected. This is a “phishing” scam, whether by phone, text, or email. No creditable companies or government agency will contact consumers in this manner. Often scammers pretend to be a relief group collecting money. Only send money to relief groups after you have validated the group as well as the address/account that is to be used to collect donations for relief. Well established groups, such as the Red Cross, are the best bet.
- Should you find documents belonging to others that contain sensitive personal information, immediately turn them over to a law enforcement agency, be it local or federal.
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