How to protect yourself from identity theft

I know this isn't a very "FUN' topic but it's something that you need to be aware of...

You've probably noticed identity theft is becoming more and more prevalent out there. As many as 133,000 New Zealanders may be victims of identity theft annually (Source: Dept of Internal Affairs)

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. Since resolving identity theft can take a lot of time and be very expensive, prevention is the best strategy:

* Shred financial documents before discarding.

* Don't carry your winning Lotto ticket in your wallet or signed blank cheques.

* Don't give out personal information by phone, mail, or Internet unless you know the recipient.

* Never click on links in unsolicited emails. Just in case they lead to a fraudulent site, always type in the correct web address.

* Don't use obvious passwords (your birth date, mother's maiden name, last four digits of your social insurance number, etc.), and don't carry them with you.

* Keep personal information in a secure place at home.

* Inspect your credit report at least once a year and report any discrepancies.

* Be alert for bills that don't arrive on time, new credit cards (or statements) that arrive unexpectedly, and denials of credit for no apparent reason. Make inquiries and follow them up.

If you're a victim of identity theft, report it to the police immediately.

Hope this never happens to you or your loved ones...

Your trusted mortgage advisor,

Jeff Kerwin


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