Protecting Your Identity

As you gear up for the holiday season, financial analysts are advising you to beware of thieves looking to steal your identity.

This can be done in several ways. First, analysts say some thieves copy down social security numbers from checks that are spent at stores and then use those numbers to apply for extra credit resources such as credit cards or even loans.

Another way is by using private information given out over the phone, internet or even in letters.

"A thief is a thief is a thief," said Larry Reed, manager for the non-profit group, Consumer Credit Counseling in Meridian.

Although sometimes time-consuming, Reed said there are ways to avoid becoming a victim.

"Not only can you not put the social security number on the check, you can also put your initials on the check and then a thief cannot figure out what your name is," said Reed.

He adds, never give out private information on unsecure websites. Reed said any website that is secure will have a lock symbol somewhere on its homepage.

Also, never give out private information over the phone. When discarding mail, shred all pieces with private/personal information.
mail tampering is a problem you can always rent a post office box.

"My advice to people is to control those things which you have control over," said Reed.