Despite your best efforts to manage the flow of your personal information or to keep it to yourself, skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to gain access to your data. An identity thief co-opts some piece of your personal information and appropriates it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. An all-too-common example is when an identity thief uses your personal information to open a credit card account in your name.
Can you completely prevent identity theft from occurring? No, especially if someone is determined to commit the crime. But you can minimize your risk by managing your personal information wisely, cautiously and with heightened sensitivity.
If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you can call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338). The FTC puts your information into a secure consumer fraud database and may, in appropriate instances, share it with other law enforcement agencies and private entities, including any companies about which you may complain.
Home Burglary Prevention's Top 10 Tips
- Make your house "hard". If it looks difficult to enter, is difficult to enter, and is well-maintained, chances are burglars will look somewhere else.
- Place sufficient lighting in the front/back of your home and garage.
- Use deadbolt locks as secondary locks on all doors. Ensure you have 2 1/2 - 3" screws in the door frame strike plate to reinforce deadbolt security.
- Fortify your windows and sliding glass doors with secondary locks or dowels that fit securely in windows. Dowels can be made of wood, PVC pipe or metal. Secondary locks include eye and hook, Charlie bars.
- Secure your garage doors with a padlock or a sliding/cane bolt. Lock the door that leads into the house from the garage.
- Develop rapport with your neighbors. You are more apt to look out for each others' homes and property if you know each other.
- Trim all of your landscaping below windows to avoid concealment areas.
- Make sure your address is visible from the street so emergency personnel can quickly respond with ease.
- Don't let mail or newspapers pile up. This is a telltale sign that you are gone. Arrange for a friend or neighbor to collect these items in your absence.
- Get a dog. Dogs are a good deterrent to burglars.