Diversity Woman Magazine

WIN 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: http://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/927951

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m W i n t e r 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 39 Alexandr a Kay S eventy percent of American consumers say they worry about identity theft and credit card hack- ing, according to a recent Gallup research poll. And with all the recent news about hacks—especially the latest at credit bu- reau firm Equifax—it's hard not to be worried. Unfortunately, our worry isn't groundless. Identity theft hit a record ISTOCKPHOTO Protect Yourself Safeguard your identity—both online and off ! DW Life > Money Matters high in 2016, with more than 15 million Americans falling prey to fraudsters, who got away with $16 billion. If you're con- cerned that you might be at risk, here's what you need to do to protect yourself. LOW-TECH PROTECTIONS Limit what you carry You don't need every credit card with you all the time, nor do you need to have your Social Security card in your purse or wallet every day. Each time you stuff something in your purse with identifying informa- tion, you create a vulnerability for your- self if it's compromised, so clean out your purse or wallet and make sure you only carry what you absolutely need, advises Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity eft Resource Center. "As women, we've made huge strides when it comes to paying at- tention to our surroundings for our physi- cal safety," says Velasquez. "But it's not only about protecting your physical body. We have to treat our identity as part of our safety regimen." Opt out Consider opting out of prescreened of- fers of credit and insurance by mail, says the Federal Trade Commission. Having those preapproved offers in an unlocked mailbox can leave you open to having your identity stolen by a thief opening a credit card in your name, says Risa Pecoraro, executive vice president of product for CyberScout, an identity pro- tection company. To opt out of such offers, call 1-888-567-8688 or go to Optoutprescreen.com. e three nationwide credit reporting companies operate the phone number and website, and you can opt out permanently or for five years. Properly dispose of mail and other personal items Any paperwork should be shredded be- fore your toss it. is includes any finan- cial statements, old credit cards, letters from lenders, paperwork with a Social Se- curity or driver's license number, old pre- scriptions, health insurance forms, and old checks. Computers or other electron- ics that are being thrown away should be purged of any personal information

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