Professional Organizing Tips and Resources.
Every year, thousands of people are made victims by identity theft.
Modern telecommunications devices and computer processing can make it easier for us to stay in touch and process transactions, yet they can also make it easier for criminals to get hold of valuable information.
Be it paper or digital, preventing the wrong element from getting a hold of information they can use to steal from you and others, is important.
Imagine your children’s information being used to establish credit cards and loans before they are even old enough to work. Imaging your identity stolen and your credit rating trashed for bad debt that someone else created for you. Worse yet, imagine being arrested for crimes you never committed.
In doing some research on the topic, these are just some of the scenarios I found that identity theft victims have had to live through.
Your safety is my concern, and so I have unofficially declared October as Theft Prevention Month. In order to prevent any one of these stories from ever being yours, today I offer some tips on identity theft prevention and local resources to help you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your business.
Common ways to protect yourself:
One easy first step to helping prevent someone from getting a hold of your private details is to invest in a paper shredder. Expect to spend $30.00 - $100.00 depending on what your volume of shredding may be. Shred personal information, credit card and debit card receipts, pre-approved credit applications etc. Cross cut shredders that can handle full sheets of paper make shredding easy and effective.
You can also bring your papers to service providers who make it their business to shred your docs on site. Some will even come to you, should you have a significant amount of documentation to destroy.
When using your debit and credit cards, watch who is standing around you. Guard your pin number from prying eyes. Also, try not to carry extra credit cards you don’t use. That goes for cards like you Social Insurance Number too. Better to leave that in a safe at home if you can.
For added security for your credit cards, cover up the 3 digit code on the back too. Memorize those numbers or write it down in a secret place somewhere separate from the card. That way you won’t be sharing that code to everyone you hand your credit card too. I personally got stung on this one not long ago.
At the Mail Box
When ordering checks, have them delivered to your local bank instead of to your home. If getting new cards mailed to you, watch that they come on time. If you suspect it’s late call the card company to see when it was mailed. If too much time has passed, have the card canceled. Same can go for your bills too.
Secure your computer with anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs. Have a firewall set up and when shopping on-line be sure that the site you are providing your private details to, is secure.
Set clever passwords for your on-line accounts. Combo’s of letters and numbers is best. Don’t use things like your mother maiden name or the city you were born in.
Unless you initiated the call yourself, do not give out personal information over the phone. Keep in mind too that there is technology available to monitor cell phone calls, so use a land-line if you can when you are going to give personal information over the phone. And another tip is to keep your phone number or social security number off of your personal checks.
Some key information that you should be diligent in protecting would be, your full name, date of birth, address, credit card numbers, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and any other personal identification numbers that could be used to open accounts, redirect mail, establish cell phone services, rent vehicles or even secure employment.
Resources that can help you protect yourself:
Local Shredding Service and Data Protection Options:
Local Document Storage:
Sellers of Shredders:
Legal Shield (Formally known as Pre-Paid Legal Service of Canada:
(My personal trusted network connections)
More great tips and stories on line:
Need help organizing? Michelle serves the Carleton Place, Lanark County and Ottawa areas.