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Tyson Properties, Inc.

Protect Yourself - Identity Theft

Identity theft has become a major problem in today’s world with statistics of over 10 million cases of theft and billions of dollars lost in one year. There is a lot you can do to protect yourself and your family and the first is to prevent someone from accessing your information.

Here are some ways to prevent access to your personal information:

  • Know where all your credit cards and documents are at all times.
  • Only carry credit cards that you really need with you, checking regularly that they are still in your wallet or purse.
  • Beware of how you display credit cards in public, who you have given the card to for payment, and if someone has an opportunity to make an illegal copy.
  • Consider taking out a protection program for your credit cards – many companies offer them, but be sure you know what you are getting in benefits & the total costs.
  • Keep important information confidential and hidden even in your home, such as passwords, account numbers, etc.
  • Keep paper information in a secure place, locked away or in a bank vault.
  • When you receive your paper mail, shred any information with personal information or offers, such as credit cards, mortgage applications, etc.
  • When disposing of records either shred them yourself or if there is a lot of paper, take it to a professional shredding company.

On Your Computer:

  • Maintain sensitive information in your computer with password protection that you change regularly.
  • Use a reliable Internet security program and firewall; keep them updated at all times.
  • If buying online, make sure the website shows “https:” in the page address, this indicates a secure site. Check online services that verify companies as legitimate.
  • If you are really uncomfortable or unsure of the security of your computer, order by phone rather than put your information out over the Internet.
  • Ignore suspicious emails, such as those claiming you ordered something you know you have not - they are looking for you to give them your credit card information.
  • Beware of phony emails from large corporations that request you verify your account or “update your information. Large companies or corporations such as PayPal or EBay will not ask for personal information by email, but they are major targets for email fraud and identity theft.
  • If you get a new computer and discard an old one, make sure you have truly destroyed the data on the hard drive. Ask for professional help if you do not know how to do this.

If you do suspect fraud or theft, take action quickly.

  • Contact a credit report bureau - you are entitled to a free credit report.
  • Minimize loss and protect your credit card record by subscribing to a credit-reporting service.
  • Check credit card bills & bank transactions carefully for all expenditures as soon as you receive them & call the company immediately to verify anything suspicious.
  • If you do encounter credit card fraud, cancel the current card, discontinue use, shred it, and obtain a new card. The credit card company will employ means to track the offenders and recover the funds.

Do not wait to act if you find there are problems - the longer it goes on, the more it can undermine your credit. A preventative approach is easier than having to handle the difficulties caused by "identify theft."