CBS News in San Francisco ran a story in which I had the honor to share some advice on easy ways you can protect your identity.
Remember the acronym S C U M and tell your friends — stop the SCUM!
1) Shred everything including mailing labels. Start today, with a cross-cut shredder. OR simply put your mail in a pan of water and let it sit for days. You’ll be able to mush it up into a big ball and recycle it easily.
2) Cancel unwanted mail. The credit bureaus created a site where you can see stop sending me credit card offers! It’s called OptOut Prescreen (for some reason).
Especially if you move a lot and use PO Boxes getting credit card offers can be a recipe for identity fraud. Unfortunately the site doesn’t stop all offers. But it’s worth doing to at least slow the flow.
3) Update computer security software. I use ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite
and keep my firewall on HIGH. I also turn on their ID Lock so I’m warned if information containing a string of characters (like my SSN) is attempted to be sent from my computer. Make sure to use “best in breed” security software. Usually what comes with your new computer isn’t enough.
4) Monitor your credit.
Make sure once every 4 months to order a credit report from the official credit report website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
(Don’t sign up with other companies that may be advertising with similar names!)