When you pulled back the curtains this morning and got a glimpse of spring you might have envisioned taking some long walks to experience that refreshing air and the colors that are starting to pop.
Use caution, if you are thinking about driving to a trailhead, parking, and then jaunting off. Thieves are aware of what you are thinking. They will be waiting to pounce once you have left your car. In fact, I’m hearing that car break-ins and theft activity has increased recently.
Putting your purse or wallet in the trunk won’t keep you safe. Thieves break the front car window and pop the trunk. Now they have what they need to steal your identity.
How can you avoid identity theft? Leave certain information at home when you are hiking.
- Never carry your social security number with you.
- Carry your medical insurance card with you on your walk. Don’t have it in your purse or wallet that you leave in the car. Medical ID theft is the newest wave of identity theft.
- Leave your checkbook and credit cards at home.
- Remove subscription magazines from your vehicle. Bar codes can tell volumes about you. When you are home, shred those bar codes.
- Keep mail with personal information at home. Don’t carry it around in your car.
- Hide your garage door opener. Thieves can find your address by looking at your car registration and proceed to your house with the garage door opener. Wouldn’t be hard to take your valuables while you are hiking.
Even though you are taking all the precautions to protect your identity, still monitor your credit card statements and shred all items with personal information, and credit card applications. Order a copy of your credit report once a year from www.annualcreditreport.com
Keep a list of all your credit cards with account numbers, issuers, and customer service telephone numbers.
Report fraud immediately. Contact the credit bureaus, your credit card companies, banks and investment companies, and the FTC at www.ftc.gov
Don’t be paranoid. Just be cautious. Have fun enjoying the enticing spring weather.
Do you have any tips to avoid identity theft?