Monday, December 17, 2007

My precious daughter-in-law recently sent me her connection to a popular social website, My Face. When I began entering information to join, I was shocked to see along with your name they ask for your date of birth. With identity theft in full throttle around the world please always remember to keep your personal information personal.
Here are a few general guidelines:
1)  NEVER give you birthdate to any website etc on the internet. Write them and insist they remove that requirment. Do not have anything to do with any site that asks for this information. When the money stops flowing because people stop using them they will change their ways and quickly.
2)  Take this a step further. Do NOT disclose your mother's maiden name or the city where you were born. No one needs this information for any reason. 
3) NEVER let anyone write down the expiration date on your driver's license. Most of them are the day and month of your birthday. This practice must stop so write your congress persons to change this law.
4) NEVER allow a clerk to write down your driver's license, birth date or any other personal information including your address when you pay with a credit card. I am a Visa Master Card merchant. Anyone asking for such information should be turned into the bank processing companies.
5) Follow your table host or hostess when you give them your credit card to pay for a meal. Make certain they do not place your card in their pocket. Some tuck small recorders in their pockets that scan your card number and 3 digit number on the back of your card.
6) I recently read where debit cards are dangerous to use. Stop using them. If someone lifts your debit card number, they can wipe out your bank account within minutes and you have no recourse for reimbursement with a Debit Card. Credit cards are safer and carry a small limit should someone steal your card to make fraudulent charges.  
7) Stop using ATM machines. It is easy to hide a very small camara just above the card swipe that records your card number. Take the extra care to get to the bank before it closes for extra money if you think you will need it.
With a little care and planning you can keep your identity safe and save months of anquish.

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